REVIEW: Douglas Boyd with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra

Posted on April 15, 2010

A review of Manchester Camerata Music Director Douglas Boyd’s conducting of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra by Chip Michael on the Interchanging Idioms music blog

“Principal Guest Conductor Douglas Boyd was on the podium tonight with the Colorado Symphony. His command of the rich romantic language from Sibelius to DvoÅ™ák treated audiences to extreme worlds of the quixotic heart – that of the depths of darkness and the triumphant hero.

The concert opened with selections from Pelléas et Mélisande by Jean Sibelius. In his delightfully soft Scottish burr, Boyd offered a brief telling of the dark tale of these tragic lovers from the original play by Maurice Maeterlinck, for which the music was composed. This was the premier performance for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra of this very dark music.

Using a much smaller orchestra than Sibelius uses in his symphonies, the music still has plenty of depth. It opens with bold gestures to bring us to the gates of Golaud’s castle. Boyd played the role of sorcerer, conjuring various elements from the orchestra creating an array of menacing musical moods until the castle gates open with a triumphant timpani roll and the movement ends. The next movement is filled with a sense of loss as Jason Lichtenwalter played the beautiful theme on the English Horn. Here Boyd gracefully coerced silence from the music, allowing pauses rein as the sorrow of Mélisande floated from moment to moment. The third movement creates tension with buzzing violas endless churning the spinning wheel while the distorted thoughts of Mélisande grow more and more deranged. Boyd gracefully captured each chimerical facade of the music with precise strokes. Finally, we are confronted with the final movement, Mélisande’s death. Boyd sweeps from strength to strength until there is no more, bringing the orchestra down until death consumed both the music and the light.”

Read the whole review HERE