Vincent Ho: ‘The Shaman’ | North America Review: New York Classical Review

Ho is the Winnipeg Symphony’s composer in residence, and his concerto […] is swaggering, satisfying and often spectacular. The Shaman opens with a deeply ritualistic “Ritual” movement, with Glennie sliding between three different percussion stations and playing her way through the bulk of her kit for the piece.


Together, orchestra and soloist produced a dramatically robust sound. Ho uses percussionists in the orchestra to set the context for Glennie, and he uses the low brass to push the music forward—especially in the concluding “Fire Dance”—and that has an exciting immediacy. There is a gorgeous dialogue between vibes and piano in the “Fantasia-Nostalgia” movement. He also gives Glennie a lot of room to improvise, and her soloing on the tuned percussion and the drums was terrific: she balanced imagination, order and the basic pleasures of rhythm. The aggressive, joyous physicality of the music and the playing was like a rumble between the musicians, a street-fight for young bodies relishing their lithe power.

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Alexander Mickelthwate
Carnegie Hall, New York City
8 May 2014

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