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Review | "Virtuosic, colorful, resonating" Jeffrey Zeigler with the ACO in Mark Adamo's "Last Year"

Excerpted from concert review on / The Classical Music Network

By Harry Rolnick

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know.

W.H. Auden

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.

Arthur C. Clarke

An evening with the American Composers Orchestra is like sprinting through an imaginary landscape, the sky unimaginable colors, trees a thousand feet high, mythical birds, colossal flower-petals breathing out ambrosial perfumes. Yet the only desire of the sprinter–an unfulfilled desire–is to cease sprinting, to inhale the scents for a few minutes, touch the tree‑barks and (in Walt Whitman’s words) “look up with perfect silence at the stars.”

......What I possibly did get was that splendid composer-librettist Mark Adamo and his update on Vivaldi, Last Year. It was composed with two notions in mind: a cello concerto for Jeffrey Zeigler, and Vivaldi’s The Seasons. Mr. Zeigler filled the bill, playing without a stop, virtuosic, colorful, resonating. The original Seasons was another story.

Vivaldi’s Seasons depicted a rural Elysium. And as confident at the world turning around. These days, the seasons are malicious rather than temporal (yeah, climate warming), and this four‑movement piece displayed it. “Winter” here is not snow but extreme weather, the harp, vibraphone and piano interpolating some mysterious precipitation. “Autumn” brings us the mournful Dies Irae, and “Summer” was a kumin in with faint joy.

Mr. Adamo is a fine melodist, and Mr. Zeigler let these melodies develop, soar and mount. One hearing was hardly sufficient.

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