Nights in the Garden of Muffitt

By City Pulse

The maestro picks a few plums from the 2009-‘10 season

Sept. 12

Highlight: Pianist Christopher O’Riley and the orchestra under maestro Timothy Muffitt conjure the exquisite atmosphere of Manuel de Falla’s “Nights in the Gardens of Spain.”

The maestro says: “The title says it all. You already know what it sounds like. It’s remarkably rich, descriptive music, full of flavor and atmosphere.”

Nov. 7

Highlight: Jupiter ho! Muffitt and the LSO stretch their sinews to the limit in Gustav Holst’s masterpiece, “The Planets.”

The maestro says: “There isn’t another piece in the repertoire that sounds remotely like it. That work is almost its own style of music.”

Jan. 23

Highlight: Recent Lansing Symphony guest soloists Ilya Kaler (violin) and Amit Peled (cello) return in a doublethreat command performance to play the beautiful Brahms Double Concerto.

The maestro says: “Kaler is arguably one of the greatest violinists walking the planet today. He and Amit have done this work together many times, and it’s become a beautifully conceived and polished statement.”

Feb. 20

Highlight: Mozart’s overture to Don Giovanni shows the powdered-wig classical world the doorway to Hell.

The maestro says: “That little overture was really pushing the world of music towards romanticism — a heightened level of drama and thematic exploration.”

March 27

Highlight: When Timothy Muffitt asked Itzhak Perlman whom he favored among younger violin players, Perlman named soloist Giora Schmidt, who will play American composer Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto.

The maestro says: “Giora has a beautifully refined but luscious approach to this piece. This concerto is hyper-expressive anyway. The more you rein in the sentimentality, the more powerful it is.”

May 4

Highlight: Da-da-da-DOOM is just the beginning. Watch Muffitt, master of the slow build-up, turn the sky pre-tornado green before bringing the hammer down for the climax of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

The maestro says: “There’s a reason this is among the most famous, if not the most famous, piece of music in the world.”