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items tagged with Mark Russell Smith

Turning an Appetizer Into a Meal: The Quad City Symphony, December 1 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-12-12 15:19:09

It should have been only a sampling – a taste of love, lust, delusions of grandeur, and jocular deception – but the Quad City Symphony on December 1 delivered a fast-paced, funny, and fully satisfying performance of Act III of Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Falstaff.

Last season, the Quad City Symphony’s Der Rosenkavalier excerpt was plagued by balance problems between the singers and orchestra and by dramatic incoherence – with neither a translation of the German libretto nor an explanation of the plot.

This year, Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith got it right logistically, educationally, and musically. Smith moved the instrumentalists upstage, opening up a large area in front of the orchestra that put the principal singers closer to the audience. The cast members had more room to move and act, sharpening the differences between their characters.

Even though the 30-plus members of Jon Hurty’s Quad City Choral Arts sat behind the orchestra, far from the dramatic action, the location made their sound appropriately ethereal when they took on the roles of sprites, nymphs, spirits, and ghostly apparitions.

The changes of staging also improved the balance between the singers and the orchestra. From its upstage position, the orchestra was easily heard yet never overwhelmed the singers.


Read More About Turning An Appetizer Into A Meal: The Quad City Symphony, December 1 At The Adler Theatre...


A Stylistic Bear Hug for Beethoven and Mozart: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, November 3 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-11-15 11:30:48

When the Quad City Symphony unveiled its versions of Mozart and Beethoven at the Adler Theatre on November 3, it stripped away the formalism of the Classical period and replaced it with the sensuality of mid-19th Century Romanticism. That approach by Conductor and Music Director Mark Russell Smith enhanced the literary thread that connected the five movements of Beethoven’s “Pastorale,” and the orchestra’s consistently warm and expressive performance made both composers’ music more satisfying.

Even though Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute and Concerto for Clarinet (both composed in 1791) are paramount examples of Classical form, and Beethoven’s 1808 Symphony No. 6 is a harbinger of the early Romantic movement, Smith had the orchestra perform with nuance beyond the scores – applying practices largely developed after these pieces were written.


Read More About A Stylistic Bear Hug For Beethoven And Mozart: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, November 3 At The Adler Theatre...


Into a Deep but Narrow Channel: The Quad City Symphony’s 2012-13 Masterworks Series
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-09-25 11:09:20

The Quad City Symphony next month will launch a 2012-13 Masterworks Series that takes a step back from last year’s ambitious, adventurous, and modern programming and instead plunges into the deep end of 19th Century Romanticism.

Gone is the wide-ranging repertoire that musically delineated the four main historical style periods spanning 300 years, from early-18th Century Vivaldi to a world premiere by local composer William Campbell. Gone are the global concept of Britten’s War Requiem, the eclectic contrasts of Modernism, and the contrapuntal complexity of the Baroque. And, by focusing on swing music for the February Masterworks concert, the symphony has effectively eliminated one of its season’s six primary showcases for classical music.


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Birthing a Beast: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, December 3 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-12-08 19:32:06

Rarely and unpredictably, a performance will transcend music and become a living thing, a forceful creature that grabs the audience and won’t let go until the piece ends; it then lingers for hours in the mind. These experiences transport me beyond what Gustav Mahler called “the sounds of a garrulous world” and overshadow the conductor and musicians – not because they’re unimportant, but because the life-giving in their performance is so profound. On Saturday at the Adler Theatre, the beast arrived after intermission when the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith breathed life into Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1.


Read More About Birthing A Beast: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, December 3 At The Adler Theatre...


Passion Sometimes Lacking in Precision: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, October 1 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-10-06 15:42:34

Passion proved to be the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s strength in its season-opening program at the Adler Theater on October 1, but the performance was vulnerable to imprecision.

While the program was titled Beethoven 5, the highlight of the concert was a brilliant performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s demanding Third Piano Concerto by guest pianist Haochen Zhang with bold yet sensitive accompaniment by the symphony under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith.


Read More About Passion Sometimes Lacking In Precision: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, October 1 At The Adler Theatre...





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