Arts Corner

CONCERTO WITH CONSCIENCE

Italian composer creates new work for Symphony, mega-flutist
Italian composer Luca Lombardi has admired the artistry of flutist Emmanuel Pahud since he first heard him play years ago. “I was very impressed not only with the beauty of the tone, but with the musical intelligence and sensitivity,” the 64-year-old composer said in a recent phone chat. “I like his earnestness but also his humor, his irony.

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UNEARTHLY VIRTUOSO

Pianist persuades through imagination, intelligence, muscle
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin has an uncanny ability to convince you, through the sheer force of his musical personality and will, that whatever he’s playing at the moment is the greatest music on earth — even music whose genius you might later, upon reflection, decide you’re not as sure about as he is. But at the moment he’s playing it, you believe in it.

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BACH TO AFRICA

KC Ballet takes up choreographer’s daring fusion of ballet, African dance
It’s an irresistible image, almost like a scene from a Werner Herzogmovie: the aging Albert Schweitzer — theologian, musician, philosopher, physician, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Johann Sebastian Bach biographer — sitting in his bungalow playing Baroque organ music, while outside his windows the sounds of Africa buzz and sing.

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IN REVIEW

Kansas City Ballet goes one for three in winter performances

The Kansas City Ballet threw heart and soul into Lambarena, Val Caniparoli’s heady mixture of ballet, modern and ethnic dance set to Africanized arrangements of the music of Bach, and the result was if anything more beautiful than when the company performed the work in May 2004. The sheer look of the piece is irresistible: Sandra Woodall’s scenic and costume designs are vaguely African without being exaggeratedly so.

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IN REVIEW

Russian National Orchestra shows strengths but performance lacks personality

Once you got over the in-your-face shock of a full symphony orchestra on the Folly Theater’s tiny stage, the Russian National Orchestra’s concert on Friday had much to recommend. The all-Slavic program showed off a well-oiled string section and some fine principal players, though at times I found myself noticing disparities more than uniformity.

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