Las Vegas Philharmonic: Masterworks IV, A Touch of Brass

The Smith Center, April 6

In this fourth installment in their Masterworks series, the LV Phil lifted us to climes and places far from the brash streets flashing just across the tracks from the Smith Center.

In the initial volley, a canzoni by Giovanni Gabrieli, guest conductor Daniel Meyer led 32 high school musicians from CCSD’s Honor Brass Ensemble integrated with the Phil’s brass section. Split down the orchestra aisles, they filled the hall with a richly layered back-and-forth conversation that evoked the late 16th century emergence of Baroque. The evening officially closed in Seville with the “Fantasia” from Bizet’s Carmen, arranged for guest trumpet virtuosi Barbara Butler and Charles Geyer, who swapped between piccolo trumpet, orchestral trumpet and flugelhorn to “sing” the parts of Carmen and her lovers. While all of the performances were outstanding, I was most transported by Brahm’s Symphony No. 3. Its broad sweep of meticulously interleaved themes, from the solo french horn’s glowing tendril in the poco allegretto movement to the monolithic stacked bastions of sound rising in the allegro, perfectly translated the Rhine River valley’s dance of pastoral and industrial so well I could feel the cut of the wind, see silhouetted castle ruins and hear the snap of the river barge’s pennant. ★★★★★

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Concert Review: Heart


Concert Review: Heart

By Sean DeFrank

With Heart being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this month, perhaps I expected too much from this show. It’s not that the band didn’t sound great: Ann Wilson, at age 62, has lost nothing from one of the most commanding female voices in rock, and sister Nancy Wilson, 59, capably provided backing vocals while showing her musical dexterity on both electric and acoustic guitar. Yet the performance seemed a bit ordinary for a band about to receive such a prestigious honor.