Dance and Music Reviews : Covelli Conducts, Plays Shostakovich Concerto
It was an evening of competent but perfunctory music making at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday, where John Covelli led the Glendale Symphony in a routine program.
Well, not entirely routine. With himself as soloist, Covelli gave a sure-footed reading of Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto, a work by no means overplayed.
With a minimum of conductorial gestures, the pianist kept orchestral forces rhythmically tight and reasonably balanced. To the Andante he brought a good deal of poetic expression and to the outer movements spritely vigor. He seemed to give little thought to the work’s overall structure; however, neither pianist nor orchestra conveyed any real sense of direction or dramatic development, and missing was the intensity that makes Shostakovich’s music compelling.
The program opened with a businesslike reading of Suppe’s “Poet and Peasant” Overture. The two suites from Bizet’s “Carmen” followed, receiving respectable but largely superficial treatment. After the concerto, Covelli & Co. offered a generally skillful, sometimes heroic, occasionally exciting, but not-quite-polished reading of Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien.”
They followed this with a bold account of a suite from Franz Waxman’s score to the film “Prince Valiant,” Gershwin’s vapid “Lullaby” and Carmen Dragon’s arrangement of “Turkey in the Straw.”