DCINY: A Concert of Commemoration Honoring the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11
One of the most extraordinary concerts of the last few years took place at Avery Fisher Hall on September 11th, 2011. In performances presented by DCINY, known as Distinguished Concerts International New York, the audience couldn’t have received a better gift: beautifully performed, inspiring music. The crowd in attendance was so large that the lines of people spiraled around the columns in the lobby of Avery Fisher—everyone waiting to be uplifted, and they were.
Samuel Barber’s familiar “Adagio for Strings,” made even more famous by the war film “Platoon” (1986), was a highly appropriate choice for an opener. Rene Clausen prepared a solid, polished account of the work. The strings played with excellent intonation, the ensemble-playing was crystal clear, and the tempo moved along at just the right pace. The audience was clearly touched by the music and the performance. In Clausen’s own “Memorial,” the harrowing events of 9/11 were presented with a rather literal, vivid picture. For me, it hit a bit too close to home, but it ultimately seemed to win over the audience; the movements were “September Morning”, which was serene and sunny as the day began, “The Attack”, complete with crashing chords, dissonance and chaos, and the lovely “Prayers” and “Petitions” movements. It was this second half of the work that helped put people more at ease. Bradley Ellingboe, the Bass-Baritone soloist, sang with great expression and eloquence. The Distinguished Concerts Orchestra International and Distinguished Concerts Singers International performed with deep conviction and connection to all those in attendance, and as a result, the audience—some of them family members of victims—was riveted at every turn.
After intermission, we heard Karl Jenkins’s “For the Fallen: In Memoriam Alfryn Jenkins” in its US premiere. Only four minutes long, it still made an indelible impression. “Armed Man: A Mass for Peace”—on the other hand—is epic in length (63 minutes) and often had the weight, relevance and spiritual profundity of a Mahler symphony. Even though they didn’t have a lot to sing, the soloists, Erika Grace Powell, Charlotte Daw Paulsen, Brian Cheney and Bradley Ellingboe, were excellent. The Distinguished Concerts Orchestra International and The Really Big Chorus under Maestro Jenkins sounded lush, resonant and deeply committed.
The afternoon will linger in the hearts and souls of those who were lucky enough to be on hand for this important concert on this commemorative day.
-Anthony Aibel for New York Concert Review; New York, NY
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