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Brooklyn Philharmonic @ the Bandshell

Musica al Aire Libre

Dsc04722A couple of excellent outdoor events the past two nights, each featuring the distinct sounds of Spain. Last night, it was the flamenco, accompanying Noche Flamenca's live dance performance at Dsc04743Celebrate Brooklyn. Flamenco was born in southern Spain, where Moorish and Gypsy cultures were prevalent. Singers Anillo Salazar and Manuel Gago often seemed lost in an ecstatic trance, Dsc04747sounding as if they were channeling the spirit of the great Sufi mystics. Combined with the explosive dancing of Soledad Barrio, Juan Ogala and others, it was a powerful experience that got the whole bandshell up on its feet.

Dsc04751 I don't usually prefer to sit in the back at concerts, but that was the place to be at tonight's event in Brooklyn Bridge Park, where the Brooklyn Philharmonic performed the Four Seasons of both Antonio Vivaldi and Argentine composer Astor Piazzola, with the bridge and a glorious sunset as a backdrop. The Philharmonic's young music director Michael Christie led the performance, opting to Dsc04760alternate the famous Vivaldi concerti with those of Piazzola, who took his inspiration from Vivaldi, often quoting him at length. I thought violinist Lara St. John's performance of the Vivaldi lacked the necessary fire, but she played the Piazzola with just the right amount of swagger, swaying her hips in time to the tango rhythms.

Dsc04772Christie spoke after the performance, and was warm and engaging in relaying some brief information about what we'd just heard. He also reminded the crowd that the Philharmonic will be at Celebrate Brooklyn tomorrow night, with an all-American concert featuring violinist Mark O'Connor and cellist Maya Beiser. $3 suggested admission.