The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
By Matthew Marshall, The Miami Symphony Orchestra
Eduardo Marturet and The Miami Symphony Orchestra added a new twist to the Viennese New Year tradition with “Ocean Drive in Vienna” on Sunday night before a large and very enthusiastic audience at the Adrienne Arsht Center's Knight Concert Hall. Thanks to the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge, the program featured four world premieres by MISO’s three composers-in-residence that combined the distinctive rhythms of Miami with the sensibility of the Viennese waltz kings.
Alexander Berti's American Waltzes opened with a virtuosic violin solo by concertmaster Daniel Andai, featuring a rich orchestration of Latin-infused melodies complimented with bongos and indigenous percussion instruments. The two pieces by Samuel Hyken included Volare Waltz, an ingenuous adaptation of the Italian pop song Volare set to Johann Strauss' On the Beautiful Blue Danube, and Hungarian Dance No. 5 - Redux, which combined a variety of musical sounds that included timpani rolls, Gypsy violin solos, and a driving rock beat. Carlos Rivera's Pizzi-Cuban Polka was a clever reinvention of Strauss' Pizzicato Polka, which became gradually more infused with Latin rhythms as the work progressed. Popular flutist Nestor Torres came on stage unannounced and added swinging riffs and tonal vibrancy to the performance.
Eduardo Marturet returned for three energetic encores, as Latin television personality Raúl González pecked away at an old fashioned upright in Leroy Anderson's The Typewriter. Members of the orchestra (along with special guests from Jungle Island) whistled the main tune in The Colonel Bogey March from The Bridge on the River Kwai, and concluded to the audience's delight with a clap-along version of the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss, Sr.
The Miami Symphony’s next program features Eduardo Marturet conducting works by Janáček, Webern, Wagner and Elgar. Concert dates are 8 p.m. February 9 at the FIU Wertheim Auditorium and 4 p.m. February 10 at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. 305-275-5666; www.themiso.org.