Two World Premieres at Broward Centre

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Turchi-Flores conducts his own world premiere

Audiences who were lucky enough to attend a performance of the Mission Chamber Orchestra of Rome at the Broward Centre this weekend were treated to not one but two world premiere musical events.

The concert was part of the Summerfest concert series of the Symphony of the Americas. Its composer-in-residence for three years has been Lorenzo Turchi-Floris, musical director of the Mont Blanc Choir and Symphony Orchestra. In this concert he premiered Presentiments, which he wrote a few months ago as a special commission for Summerfest.

In the program notes, he described the piece as "an expression of self- it's a feeling, a presence, a spirit. He tells me about himself...who he was in the past and who he is now. He comes from another world, one that does not exist anymore, but one that is still very vivid."

The opening melody of six notes is led by the cello, and keeps recurring. It becomes more intense as the entire orchestra joins in and then dies away leaving the cello once more as the instrument that ends the opening. This leads to a more contemplative passage that seems infused with an inner light.

This mirrors the "strong emotions" that Turchi-Flores alludes to in his notes, which also explains why this inner light gradually grows dim as it fades to oblivion: "He expresses and lives for the last time these strong emotions, and now he can finally leave, dispersing these thoughts from this strong presence, gradually dispersing them to infinity." A powerful and moving composition, it is sure to be performed widely in the future.

The second world premiere of the evening came at the end of the concert, when maestro James Brooks-Bruzzese announced that the Symphony of the Americas has been chosen to perform at the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. This is a specially great honour for him, since he is from Panama. The venue will be the University of Gainesville here in Florida.

The composition, Rhapsody on the Panama Canal, was done by Juan Castillo, principal oboist of the National Symphony of Panama. It begins as a very open, embracing rhapsody, turning into a more languid passage of considerable depth. Plucking by the violins signal an end to this section, as the rhapsody returns the orchestra to a sunny disposition. The audience reaction I received was that it was a rather simplistic composition, saved only by the more complex middle section.

Marilyn Maingart performs on the fluteMarilyn Maingart performs on the fluteThe evening had several other notable highlights. Marilyn Maingart, principal flutist with Symphony of the Americas, got a chance to shine in two compositions: Habanera, Opus 21 by Pablo de Sarasate and Carnival of Venice by Herbert Clark. The Habanera as a muscial form tends to be very sultry, and featured in several pieces throughout the concert. Sarasate himself was an incredible violin virtuouso who wrote a lot of music for the violin. His Habanera from 1878 was arranged for flute by Maingart.

A work of peculiar lyrical intensity, it has shades of Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov. The whirlwind of notes that Maingart managed to perform on the flute brought cheers from the capacity audience at the Broward Centre. She also received warm applause for the Carnival of Venice, a buoyant theme full of youthful joy.

A performance of Vivaldi's Spring by Sandro Tigishvili brought the audience to a standing ovation. He gave this bravura permance on a 300-year-old violin by the great master Carlo Tonini who created most of his great instruments in Venice.

Lovers of the cello were also in heaven as the famed Juerg Eichenberger performed two pieces by Saint-Saens. Backed up by his wife and daughters, it was truly a family affair of cello playing of a high calibre.

Overall, it was one of the very best concerts Symphony of the Americas has brought to the Broward Centre. It's regular concert season here opens on October 14, 2014. Visit for tickets.

Photos by C. Cunningham, copyright Sun News Miami




Clifford Cunningham

Dr. Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist. He earned his PhD in the history of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. In 2014 he was named a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of 14 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honor in 1990 by the International Astronomical Union based on the recommendation of its bureau located at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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