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Rossini, Respighi, Mozart, Indianapolis, October 2013
Conductors skills and background the right mix

[....] on Wednesday evening a beautifully prepared concert in Auer Hall by the Chamber Orchestra: Rossini's Overture to La scala di seta, Ottorino Respighi's Gli Uccelli and Mozart's Symphony n. 40.
Meticulous and warm held true in Wednesdays readings. One discerned wit and effervescence, too, as the orchestra skipped
and pranced through the melodies and forged the crescendos in the curtain raiser Rossini wrote for his one act comedy about a secret marriage that prompts all sorts of misadventures,including
the husbands use of a silken ladder to reach his wife's bed chamber.
Maestro Fagen had skillful orchestration at his disposal in the Respighi. Known best for two large-scaled and lush tone poems
about the fountains and pines of Rome, in Gli uccelli, the composer, in 1928, made use of Italian and French music from the 17th and 18th centuries to fashion a five-movement suite
paying homage to birds. A get-things-started Prelude is followed by sound portraits of La colomba, La gallina, L'usignuolo and Il
Cucu. A brilliant orchestrator, Respighi sagaciously outlined those winged creatures. Conductor and orchestra filled in the details with a richly colored and robust performance.
The Mozart Symphony Number 40, one of his final three, calls for dramatic tension, elegance, transparency, and an aura of spontaneity.
All these, Fagen's interpretation and facilitation possessed, and in generous measures. Very much present, too, were the hard-to-capture but needed blends of moods dark and light, of the
agitated and poignant, of the melancholic and joyous.

By Peter Jacobi,
Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart, Indianapolis, September 2013
…. the current production of this Mozart masterpiece also scores. From what one hears and sees, conductor Arthur Fagen and stage director Christopher Alexander have truly done their job. Fagen has coached and coaxed both the pit musicians and the two alternating casts of singers; all are true to Mozarts style. The orchestra played with
spirit and elan, courtesy of Maestro Fagen, a gentleman who understands the responsibilities of a pit ensemble and the refinements of sound required for Mozart.
Peter Jacobi, Herald Times, September 23, 2013

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