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Colin Currie makes spectacular local debut

Colin Currie's performance of Jennifer Higdon's “Percussion Concerto” wows Oklahoma City Philharmonic audience.
Modified: February 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm •  Published: February 5, 2013
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Whether in the hushed tremolos of the marimba, the metallic passagework of the vibraphone, the clatter of the temple blocks or the explosive poundings of the timbales and tom-toms, Currie wove these disparate elements into a dramatic piece with remarkable finesse.

The orchestra's percussion section — Dave Steffens, Lance Drege, Roger Owens and Stuart Langsam — performed their equally critical role in this concerto's success through precise and colorful exchanges with the soloist. Joel Levine kept taut reins over the proceedings which culminated in a spectacular performance.

The evening's finale, Tchaikovsky's suite from “Swan Lake,” which Levine bookended with a prologue and dramatic finale, served as a sort of prelude for the Oklahoma City Ballet's April staging of the full-length ballet.

Levine carefully shaped the work with remarkable taste and musical understanding. There were lovely solos by oboist Lisa Harvey-Reed, harpist Gaye LeBlanc, cellist Jonathan Ruck and concertmaster Gregory Lee.

Levine's expert pacing and balancing of the orchestral sections through an ever-changing panorama of waltzes and nationalistic dances reminded listeners of this orchestra's remarkable virtuosic capabilities. It's a concert that won't soon be forgotten.

— Rick Rogers