Belshazzar's Feast in Milwaukee!

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Jim Anello
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Belshazzar's Feast in Milwaukee!

Post by Jim Anello » Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:35 pm

Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, a piece for baritone soloist, chorus and orchestra is being performed at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Milwaukee on the evening of Saturday, February 22nd, and on the afternoon of Sunday, February 23rd.

For those of you who love Star's rendition of this piece, this is your chance to hear the original in a live performance. Chorus rehearsals are going very well. This should be one kick- a** concert!!

I'll be the short guy in the front row of the basses in the penguin suit!

Jim Anello
Milwaukee Symphony Chorus Baritone, 1978 - present
Jim Anello

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Post by Jim Anello » Mon Feb 17, 2003 9:17 pm

Oh, Boy! This concert's going to be amazing! We in the chorus are as ready as we can be! Last rehearsal with our chorus director was tonight, conductor piano rehearsal tomorrow - if the guy can get out of Logan - and we rehearse with the orchestra Thursday. I can't wait!

Meanwhile. someone's slipped a tape of Star's show to our assistant chorus director, who's amazed anyone could march it. All those changing rhythms!

Time to sign off, have a drink, and wind down!

If you're within a couple of hours of Milwaukee this weekend, this will be well worth your while.
Jim Anello

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Post by LAMystreaux » Tue Feb 18, 2003 6:01 am

Any way I can get a recording of it after you've performed it?
Just because your hate is masked by "free thinking" or being "open-minded" does not make it right.

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Review

Post by Jim Anello » Sun Feb 23, 2003 7:38 am

TXMystreaux wrote:Any way I can get a recording of it after you've performed it?


You may want to check the classical and NPR radio stations in the area(Dallas?). Our concerts are recorded for broadcast on many stations.

Performance#1 was great. Here are excepts from the review in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

MSO, Chorus bring out meat in 'Feast'

by Tom Strini

William Walton's "Belchazzar's Feast" never made anything like the impression on me that it made Saturday evening, when baritone Nmon Ford, the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, and guest conductor Grant Llewellyn took it up.

Llewellyn had complete command of the large force of musicians arrayed on the stage and in the house and of the complex score. Walton alternates urgent rushes with rumination, and Llewellyn calculated degrees of contrast with a sure sense of rising overall dramatic momentum. Under his baton, the surf of the music rose and fell, but the tide rose relentlessly.

Walton wrote great rhythmic life and splashy orchestral color into "Belshazzar's Feast," but harmony is its most powerful element. The climactic chords of phrases surprise or misdirect almost without exception, and yet are always plausible. Llewellyn's sensitivity to these harmonic surprises and his canny ways of building to them is the most striking aspect of his interpretation.

His insights, of course, would have meant nothing without performers ready and able to realize them. The Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, prepared by Lee Erickson, sang with overwhelming force or charged hush as was required, and was so finely tuned that every delicious nuance of Walton's harmony resonated upon the heartstrings.

Conducting this chorus and orchestra on this night must have been like driving a Ferrari. They were instantly, freely and fully responsive to Llewellyn's every gesture.

Ford, the baritone soloist, fit right in. His sound is penetrating and focused, yet rich anc complex. It carries a sense of high seriousness that matches this material. Ford's pitch is right on the nose, and his diction is so good that the supertitles were superfluous."

I like the part about, "Like driving a Ferrari."

After performing this piece, I have to say once again that I have no right to be this lucky. What a kick!!

For those of you in SE Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, we do this piece again Sunday afternoon. Call the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts for tickets. You won't be sorry.
Jim Anello

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