Max Bragado-Darman may well have highlighted his premiere years as the Louisville Orchestra's Music Director with the sparkling concerts on April 1o & 12.
All three pieces were composed in this century, two by American-born composers.
The opening number, Gershwin's Cuban Overture "Rumba" got the evening off to a rousing start. One suspects that any number of the audience kept quiet remembering their delight in dancing the Rumba.
That was only the beginning. Guest artist Mark Zeltser brought the audience to their feet with an extremely vivid version of Racmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini." Mastery of it demands musicianship of a very high order, and Zeltser, now an American citizen, was more than up to it. His talent is evocative of such pianists as Iturbi, Arrau, Weissenberg and Serkin.
Charles Ives' Second Symphony is a reminder that recognition of genius is not always immediate. The late and often acclaimed Walter Damorsch kept the score for forty years without ever playing it. It took Leonard Bernstein to produce its first performance. It is American to the core in its sources of inspiration, and the Louisville Orchestra's performance was a memorable and well appreciated one.
Maestro Bragado-Darman has given local audience an unforgettable season and has shown that we will have diversified programs in the future. One can only marvel at his musical knowledge and skill in getting the orchestra ready for such musical diversity. One hopes that audiences will appreciate his talent, which is matched by a singular courtesy to all who have to relate to him.