The music of Mozart, Israeli-American pianist Orli Shaham and the always entertaining music director Andrew Constantine proved to be a winning combination for the Reading Symphony Orchestra Saturday night.
As she performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, Shaham’s fingers were light lightning on the keyboard, and with every thrusting, jerking motion, her face bore a look of agony and ecstasy that is typically reserved for paintings of martyrs. She played with such intensity that it was as if she and the piano were symbiotically linked.
Mozart’s Concerto No. 20 is a proud, majestic lion of a concerto. The horns are a bold roar, and the timpani booms with each mighty footstep. The interplay between the orchestra and piano is like a conversation between the lion and the lamb, but Shaham proves that the lamb can pack quite a punch, too.
The RSO also performed “Inner Demons,” a work by the living Chicago-based composer Stacy Garrop. The work accurately portrays the panic and loss of control that comes with an anxiety attack, the solemnity of coming “back down to earth” when the attack is over, and the hope of finding inner peace.
“Inner Demons” expands the boundaries of sound that instruments like violins and cellos are capable of making, and how these sounds can be used to establish mood and tell a story.
The concert concluded with a performance of Haydn’s grandiose, timeless London Symphony.