SOUTH BEND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Harada showed that he is a skilled sound-painter in the first three interludes: “Dawn,” “Sunday Morning” and “Moonlight.” In the fourth, “The Storm,” he was able to cut loose with a demonstration of raw power. The conductor didn’t neglect to bring out subtleties in the music, including an evocation of mist and sea-spray and even a few rays of sun trying to poke through the storm clouds. The core appeal of “The Storm,” however, is the ferocious, blasting tempest depicted with uncanny accuracy.
With an athletic, graceful conducting style, Harada summoned and manipulated massive sounds by contorting himself into a series of bending, swooping gestures, and he implored the strings with frantic, fast-motion little movements of his fingers at times when the symphony’s agitated energies required the prickliest anxieties to manifest themselves.
As he received vehement ovations at the conclusion, Harada grabbed his score and held it up high, signaling that the hoots and hollers should be directed to Beethoven. Harada was being humble. After all, Beethoven is always great — it was Harada who deserved the credit for putting together an insightful and engaging performance of a universally beloved masterpiece.
To read the full review by Jack Walton, visit here.