The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge across the Trinity River won’t be officially “unveiled” until the first weekend in March, but already it’s inspiring celebrations.
On Sunday evening there was a musical tribute by the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. Titled “From Dallas to Valencia,” it recognized the fact that the bridge’s architect and engineer is Santiago Calatrava, who’s from Valencia. So are (or in one case were) all six composers represented on the program.
The Lone Star Wind Orchestra is a polished ensemble consisting of a large number of wind instruments plus percussion and — on Sunday evening — one cello, one string bass and one harp. Conducting most of the program was Eugene Migliaro Corporon; taking one number was Robert M. Schwartz.
Probably only one of the composers, Joaquín Rodrigo, would be recognized by most concert-goers. He was the creator of a number of highly popular and highly atmospheric Spanish-themed works. He died in 1999 at age 97.
The other five composers are not only still living but were born in the 1960s and ‘70s and so are still active.
Only two of the compositions, Yakka by José Rafael Pascual-Vilaplana and Sabas by Sabin Bikandi, would be readily identified as Spanish by the typical American concert-goer. They are pasodobles, duple-meter marches often associated with bullfights. Both are upbeat, foot-tapping music with appealing melodies and a distinctly Spanish flavor.
Strikingly different was Tramonto: Romanza for Cello and Winds by Luis Serrano Alarcón. Cellist Andrés Díaz joined a somewhat slimmed-down orchestra. There were some lovely melodies for the cello and haunting sounds from the orchestra. This rather melancholy work sounded to me almost Sibeliusy, like something more appropriate to the far north rather than the sunny south.
Those who love Rodrigo works like the Concierto de Aranjuez might be surprised by his Per la flor lliri blau, which was played Sunday night. This is a substantial work, abrasive at times, melodic, with a lot of energy. At one point it seems about to go into, of all things, Mussorgsky’s “Great Gate of Kiev.” Definitely not understated Rodrigo.
Francisco Arturo Bort Ramón’s Llegendes is a pretty work with fine melodies and a celebratory ending. It’s certainly easy on the ears.
Francisco José Martínez Gallego’s La Concepción 1910 is another pleasant work, with bell and bird sounds as part of its atmosphere and a grand finish that’s a bit like something you might hear on a 1950s Hollywood epic’s soundtrack.
The Meyerson Symphony Center had a pretty large and highly enthusiastic audience. If this program is representative, they’ll undoubtedly be receptive to more sounds from Valencia.