Arts & Culture

Review: Barry Douglas with the Fort Worth Symphony

Miguel Harth-Bedoya chose to end the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s season this weekend with a program including one of the most famous of all piano concertos, especially in Fort Worth: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor.

It’s been heard countless times around here, principally because of its almost inevitable appearances at Cliburn competitions. One would think that there would be a danger of overfamiliarity, but, as with Tchaikovsky’s first concerto, the “Rock 2” just keeps rolling along. Audiences love it and probably always will.

Friday night’s performance at Bass Hall, with pianist Barry Douglas joining Harth-Bedoya and a scaled-up Fort Worth Symphony, worked some of the old magic.

The orchestra’s familiarity with the work probably played a role in how well the orchestral part went, with sweetly lyrical strings (the violas get to introduce one of Rachmaninoff’s most famous melodies), fine brass and percussion, and some great woodwind playing (principal clarinetist Ana Victoria Luperi was a standout).

Douglas contributed sounds that ranged from ethereal to grand and drew the expected enthusiastic response from his audience.

The evening got off to a grand start with Christopher Theofanidis’ Rainbow Body, which opened mysteriously with low sounds that transitioned into grand orchestral proclamation heavy with brass and percussion. Throughout the brief work were sharp contrasts between seductive soft sounds and grand passages, concluding with a glorious final outburst.

This was a highly appealing composition; I’d love to hear it again. Theofanidis was present; he received a highly enthusiastic ovation.

A fine evening ended with another thriller: Silvestre Revueltas’ La Noche de los Mayas. Deadline pressure kept me from staying all the way to the end, but it opened magnificently and, I’m told, received multiple signs of audience approval at its conclusion.

As usual, the program will be repeated Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Barry Douglas with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

▪ 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

▪ Bass Hall

▪ $20-$75

▪ 817-665-6000; fwsymphony.org

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