Wayne Lee Gay
The concept -- presenting music from Howard Shore's
Oscar-winning film score in a concert format with
visual accents -- is sound. But the execution failed
Thursday night when the Dallas Symphony and guest
conductor Alexander Mickelthwate performed The Lord
of the Rings Symphony at Morton H. Meyerson Symphony
visual projections didn't work for the first half,
leaving a blank screen hanging above the stage for
an hour of music. However, the projections, sketches
from early designs for the film, weren't all that
great when they did appear after intermission.
music is, of course, beautiful, heroic and melodic
in the finest film music tradition In this 2 1/2-hour
version, however, it sprawled and became repetitive;
some tightening up of this version is definitely called
symphony was uneven all evening, and the Dallas Symphony
Chorus, usually the star of any concert, sounded under-rehearsed.
(The texts were in several languages invented by J.R.R.
Tolkien, doubtless an added challenge.) Hayley
Westenra, this year's teen-age vocal superstar,
was often out of tune in her brief solos.
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas
(214) 692-0203 or www.dallassymphony.com
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"Out of tune" is not a term usually attributed
to Hayley's performances, nor do pitch-perfect performers
simply "go off-pitch" unless something outside
of their normal field of expectation occurs elsewhere.
One also has to wonder exactly what it was the writer
intended to convey in penning such a vaguely worded
phrase. Judging by the overall tone of the review,
however, nothing went right - for the reviewer that
is. But was the performance given solely for the benefit
of this one writer, or was it intended for the appreciation
of the audience at large? I would hazard a guess this
larger audience appreciated Hayley's - and the DSC's
- performance far more than this one somewhat "off-key"
reporter might wish us to believe.