If you've never seen or heard a percussion concerto, you're missing out. It is as much a dance as a musical composition, requiring more of the soloist than one might think.
Percussionist Colin Currie rose to the occasion Friday night, joining guest conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Utah Symphony for a program full of fast-paced rhythms and audience favorites.
Jennifer Higdon's Percussion Concerto requires the solo percussionist to play complex rhythms on multiple instruments, and Currie tackled the work well, excelling on the marimba, which was featured the most throughout the concerto.
Throughout the piece, interplay among Currie and three symphony percussionists playing no less than 20 instruments among them was subtle and brought depth to the piece, tying all elements together.
Also of note was Currie's impressive solo jam on the drums, proving that he is a master percussionist.
The evening opened with Enesco's "Romanian Rhapsody." Featuring a rich and distinctive Eastern flavor, "Rhapsody" opens with solo clarinet, continually building until the orchestra turns into a raucous gypsy band playing around a campfire.
Falletta and the symphony captured the piece's swirling melodies with ease, bringing this familiar work to life. With strong woodwind moments and a fine viola solo, "Rhapsody" was the perfect piece to start the evening, showing off the orchestra and setting the tone for the works to come.
The night ended with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, a dynamic piece that the orchestra played with emotional vigor. Falletta took full advantage of the hall's acoustics during the piece, playing with dynamics so that at times the music was just above a whisper and at others you could physically feel the music coursing through your body.Falletta's passion for the night's music was evident throughout the performance, her enthusiasm spilling over into the orchestra and to the audience, which treated the performers to a number of well-deserved standing ovations.