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Concert Review: Salt Lake Symphony

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Saturday’s Salt Lake Symphony concert was a celebration of firsts: it was the first time the orchestra has played Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring; it was the first time Rite had been performed in Libby Gardner Concert Hall; and finally, it was the first Utah performance of Jett Hitt’s violin concerto,Yellowstone.

The iconic Rite of Spring caused a huge scandal when it premiered a century ago. And while it can still stir things up, it long ago found a permanent place in the orchestral repertoire. However, it’s not common to find it programmed by a community orchestra, but the Salt Lake Symphony is no ordinary community ensemble. It consists of ambitious and dedicated musicians who obviously love a challenge. And under the leadership of its music director, Robert Baldwin, they get plenty of opportunities to test their mettle.

Robert Baldwin

They gave a stellar performance of Stravinsky’s demanding ballet score. They played with flair, passion and power, as well as wonderfully articulated expressions and lyricism. There was nothing “community” about their performance; it was professional through and through.

Baldwin captured the vitality and drama of the work with his well conceived and executed reading. He showed his command of the score as he delved into its many nuances and subtleties of rhythm and orchestration. He brought the music to life and made it palpable in stunning fashion.

Hasse Borup

Hitt’s concerto is a lushly romantic piece that, even though it’s not programmatic, is nevertheless an evocative description of Yellowstone National Park. Soloist Hasse Borup gave a stunning performance that first and foremost exhibited his expressive side, while also showing his impressive technical mastery of his instrument. And Baldwin and the orchestra offered finely crafted accompaniment that balanced and at the same time contrasted with the solo part.

The concert opened with two movements from Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, op. 72. The orchestra was joined by a large number of local high school aged musicians. These young players fit right in with their older counterparts and the performance of these two pieces was exuberant and dynamic.

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Photo by @gravesstuart
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Photos shared by @oldsaltlake are inspiring millennials and zoomers decades later with visions of a different city: one with easily accessible public transportation, walkable streets, local businesses (open late) and distinctive architecture.⁠

See more photos at the link in our bio. ⁠

Pictured: Women relax at what is believed to be Saltair Beach, date unknown
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Read more about Irene at the link in our bio!
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Photo by @gravesstuart
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Head to the link in our bio for a tribute to Blue Plate Diner. (And keep supporting your favorite local restaurants. ❤️)
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Today, we're sending love to @caputosmarket and the many people whose lives were touched by Tony. A full tribute is on our website now. ❤️
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Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠
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A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬
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At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

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