Category: Review

Live music doesn't get much better than Tchaikovsky and the Grand Rapids Symphony

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - As a composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was, and is, without equal. He was a Russian nationalist as well as an internationalist. His music sets scenes that are descriptive and evocative. His melodies are lush, sweeping and memorable. Musicians admire his music. Audiences love it. The genius that was Tchaikovsky was on full display at the Grand Rapids Symphony on Friday, October 4, in DeVos Performance Hall. In part because the entire program was devoted to the musi... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, October 5, 2019

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony celebrates 25 years of Picnic Pops with star-spangled salute to America

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk Twenty-five years ago, the Grand Rapids Symphony proved that if you build it, people will come. The D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops debuted a quarter century ago on a sweltering summer’s evening on a ski slope transformed into an outdoor concert venue. The Grand Rapids Pops celebrated its 25th anniversary with a star-spangled patriotic salute with Classical Fireworks: Salute to America on Thursday, July 11. The concert sponsored by Aquinas College, Chemical B... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Friday, July 12, 2019

Recap: Heartfelt humanity, magnificent music in Grand Rapids Symphony's performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 3

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Gustav Mahler wrestled with the big questions, and then he set them to music. To create a symphony, for the late Romantic composer, was to create a world. When conductor Bruno Walter visited Mahler in 1896 at his summer retreat in the Alps, the younger man paused to admire the beautiful vista. Mahler told Walter he needn’t bother. “You don't have to look at that,” Mahler said. “I've already composed it.” Mahler was referring t... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, April 13, 2019

Recap: Fun and good times with Holst’s ‘The Planets’ and the Grand Rapids Symphony.

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - It’s almost impossible to believe how old Gustav Holst’s The Planets is. The symphonic suite sounds fresh from the cinema and a killer opening weekend for the latest sci-fi blockbuster. In fact, the English composer began work on the seven-movement work in 1914 at the end of the horse-and-buggy era. The Planets only sounds like the soundtrack for a five-year mission to boldly go where no man has gone before because film composers have drawn inspiration f... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, February 3, 2018

Recap: Passion and precision at its finest with Grand Rapids Symphony’s all-Tchaikovsky program

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - The music of Tchaikovsky is beloved by many. For an audience of classical music aficionados, an evening of Tchaikovsky needs little explanation. But Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director Marcelo Lehninger provided one anyway. “He’s one of my favorite composers. I love his music,” Lehninger said on Friday in DeVos Performance Hall. But the Brazilian-born conductor had more to say on the subject. “One of the things I love about this orchestra... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, January 13, 2018

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony's intimate chamber music is superb in St. Cecilia Music Center

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Forty-five musicians in all were on stage, never more than 27 at a time, but it hardly mattered. No soloist was in front of the Grand Rapids Symphony on Friday evening at St. Cecilia Music Center, though no one noticed. It was an uncommon concert, a little more chamber music, a little less orchestral, but the result was magnificent just the same under Music Director Marcelo Lehninger. Grand Rapids Symphony returned the elegant splendor of Royce Auditoriu... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, January 6, 2018

Recap: Grand Rapids Pops' tribute to Fleetwood Mac is as authentic as it is entertaining

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Fleetwood Mac still is with us. One of the top pop/rock acts of the 1970s and 1980s, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in near 20 years ago, the British-American rock group hasn’t faded away. The group that celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer still tours from time to time. Just this past week, drummer Mick Fleetwood published his third book about the group he co-founded. Its title, “Love that Burns – A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, September 23, 2017

Recap: Marcelo Lehninger returns to Grand Rapids Symphony stage with sensational performance of Mahler's Symphony No. 5

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk - Gustav Maher insisted that, to him, to compose a symphony was to compose “a world.” If so, it’s a world on paper, on the drawing board, that still must be brought into being. And in the case of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, it’s created, not in seven days, but in 75 minutes. That’s a pretty big hill to climb. Music Director Marcelo Lehninger and the Grand Rapids Symphony were up to the challenge with a sensational performance of Mahle... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, February 4, 2017

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