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  • Friday, September 18, 2009
    Denver Post: Chris Thile's Mandolin Concerto "Nothing Short of Astounding"
    Cassandra Jenkins

    Chris Thile's Mandolin Concerto, Ad astra per alas porci, received its world premiere at Denver's Boettcher Concert Hall last night. It was the first of three performances of the piece there this week and weekend, with the composer on mandolin joining the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jeffrey Kahane.

    While it may be tempting to lump the work in with past efforts by other artists made famous outside the classical realm, says the Denver Post's fine arts critic, Kyle MacMillan, Thile's concerto "is a very different story." And rather than view Thile through the lens of his own past achievements, it's better to "think of him as an up-and-coming classical composer with almost unlimited potential." Even in that context, says the reviewer, the new piece "is nothing short of astounding."

    The concerto also proves to be more than simply another vehicle for this "virtuoso player" shine. What's more, in its tonality, MacMillan suggests, the piece can be put in the company of work by composers like Béla Bartók. It's a comparison Thile might appreciate, having said of Bartók, in an earlier Post piece: "I think that fellow really hit the nail on the head as far as a meaningful synthesis of folk and formal music, to where it's even silly to talk about them being different."

    Nevertheless, the idea of placing the more "folk" sound of the mandolin in the more formal setting of the orchestra could be seen as a challenge to any composer and one that, for Thile, has reaped its rewards. As MacMillan writes:

    The mandolin is not an obvious concerto instrument, but Thile skillfully integrates it into the whole, demonstrating a natural gift for orchestration. The work scatters handsome solos around the orchestra and sets up intriguing inner dialogues with the mandolin and other instruments.

    Read the complete concert review at denverpost.com.

    For information on upcoming performances of the piece, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    Journal Articles:Artist NewsReviews

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Denver Post: Chris Thile's Mandolin Concerto "Nothing Short of Astounding"

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on September 18, 2009 - 12:35pm
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Friday, September 18, 2009 - 15:00
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Chris Thile gave the world premiere of his Mandolin Concerto with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jeffrey Kahane in Denver last night. The Denver Post, rather than view Thile through the lens of his past achievements, sees him "as an up-and-coming classical composer with almost unlimited potential." Even in that context, says the Post, the new piece "is nothing short of astounding."

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Chris Thile's Mandolin Concerto, Ad astra per alas porci, received its world premiere at Denver's Boettcher Concert Hall last night. It was the first of three performances of the piece there this week and weekend, with the composer on mandolin joining the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jeffrey Kahane.

While it may be tempting to lump the work in with past efforts by other artists made famous outside the classical realm, says the Denver Post's fine arts critic, Kyle MacMillan, Thile's concerto "is a very different story." And rather than view Thile through the lens of his own past achievements, it's better to "think of him as an up-and-coming classical composer with almost unlimited potential." Even in that context, says the reviewer, the new piece "is nothing short of astounding."

The concerto also proves to be more than simply another vehicle for this "virtuoso player" shine. What's more, in its tonality, MacMillan suggests, the piece can be put in the company of work by composers like Béla Bartók. It's a comparison Thile might appreciate, having said of Bartók, in an earlier Post piece: "I think that fellow really hit the nail on the head as far as a meaningful synthesis of folk and formal music, to where it's even silly to talk about them being different."

Nevertheless, the idea of placing the more "folk" sound of the mandolin in the more formal setting of the orchestra could be seen as a challenge to any composer and one that, for Thile, has reaped its rewards. As MacMillan writes:

The mandolin is not an obvious concerto instrument, but Thile skillfully integrates it into the whole, demonstrating a natural gift for orchestration. The work scatters handsome solos around the orchestra and sets up intriguing inner dialogues with the mandolin and other instruments.

Read the complete concert review at denverpost.com.

For information on upcoming performances of the piece, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

featuredimage: 
Chris Thile indoors by Cassandra Jenkins

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