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The Reviews Are In On Lucas’ Latest Composition

November 4, 2013 Compositions, Concerts

The reviews are rolling in on Lucas Richman’s most recent composition, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: In Truth.

 

From Alan Sherrod of Metropulse Knoxville:

“One immediately sensed that the volume level in the lobby of the Tennessee Theatre at intermission of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra concerts last week was quite a bit higher than usual following the occasion of the world premiere of Maestro Lucas Richman’s new piano concerto, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: In Truth. “Abuzz” might be a good word to describe the chatter intensity, as in–“the lobby was abuzz” with comments flung here and there by both experienced listeners and those that merely know what they like; abuzz, because the work and the performance had engendered a lot of mostly positive opinions–and of those, mostly of surprise and delight that the new work was so accessible and entertaining. I can’t honestly say I was surprised having heard Richman’s smaller works over the years during his tenure in Knoxville, but I was struck by the boldness and complexity of the work…”

Read the full text here.

 

And from the KSO’s principal cellist:

“Our maestro has hit a home run with his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, In Truth, at the Tennessee Theatre Thursday and last night. Pianist (and the work’s dedicatee) Jeffrey Beigel, in his fifth appearance with the KSO, gave a splendid performance of the work. A year and a half in the works, In Truth’s three movements represent expressions of truth as pertains to being true to one’s self, true to the world, and true to one’s spirit. The first movement is declamatory yet melodic, bringing to mind the pacing of Rachmaninov’s concerti. The middle movement uses asymmetric ostinati (repeated rhythmic figures) and some high-octane ragtime to bring its points across. The finale is patiently lyrical and in the end recalls the first movement’s themes to complete a circle of truth…”
And finally from the Knoxville News Sentinel:

Debut of Richman’s concerto well received, beautifully
performed
By Harold Duckett
Knoxville News Sentinel
Friday, October 18, 2013
Will a composer’s new music hold up for the long term?
If popularity with audiences is one of the criteria, then Knoxville Symphony Orchestra conductor and composer Lucas Richman’s brand new “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: In Truth,” which made its world premiere Thursday at the Tennessee Theatre with pianist Jeffrey Biegel as the moral protagonist, certainly qualified.
In today’s multimedia world, it may be expected that new music be cinematic — movie music, if you will. Richman’s concerto was that, too.

Some might consider that to be a derogatory quality for classical music with a serious motive, but Bernstein, Copland, Glass, Kodaly, Prokofiev and Shostakovich all wrote movie music.  In the jazzy second movement, one could hear more than a few reflections of Bernstein, maybe even Stravinsky.
But there was also a lot of Richman, too. The music was a lot more than an homage to the composers who have influenced him.
The first movement had thick, rich textures and pulsating rhythms, offset by an introspective, lovely melody in the piano that had whiffs of Rachmaninoff.

Biegel, who clearly loved playing this piece, played it brilliantly throughout. But nowhere was he better than in the gorgeous piano solo that opened the second movement and dissolved into jazzy syncopations in the orchestra.  In the third movement, Biegel’s tender, delicate playing of another solo set up more contrasts with the orchestra.

The concert opened with Samuel Barber’s concert “Overture” to British playwright Richard Brinsly Sheridan’s 1777 “The School of Scandal.” Richman and the KSO delivered its driving momentum and its bright, sometimes complex, textures with a convincing performance.
After intermission, Richman and his forces presented Ferde Grofé’s perspective on the Mississippi with his “Mississippi Suite,” written in 1925. Especially attractive was some gorgeous solo horn playing by principal horn Jeffrey Whaley.
George Gershwin’s 1928 “An American in Paris” featured more beautiful solos, this time by new principal trumpet Phillip Chase Hawkins and principal English horn Elizabeth Telling.  It was all music that proved to be a good companion to Richman’s “Piano Concerto” and Biegel’s masterful playing. None of them put Richman’s concerto in their shadow.

Will Richman’s concerto stand the test of time? Only time will tell. But it was more than worth being able to say you were there when it came to life.

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