CD, club concert keep Atlanta Symphony music playing amid lockout

With the scheduled Sept. 25 start of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 70th anniversary season increasingly in doubt due to fractured contract negotiations, Atlantans might wonder when they will hear the musicians making fresh music again.

Sooner than you think, if a CD and a benefit concert featuring a chamber version of the ASO are acceptable substitutes for a full ensemble concert in Symphony Hall.

  • In what could be seen as the worst or best of times for a release, ASO Media issued the all-Ralph Vaughan Williams two-CD set last week just two days after the ASO’s musicians were locked out by the orchestra’s administration.


One music blog noted that Vaughan Williams’ name is covered in barbed wire on the CD cover and sniffed, “Really? Doesn’t this seem a tad ironic, given recent events?”

If one can get past that, compelling music, recorded in February, awaits. The fifth release on the orchestra’s own label features music director Robert Spano leading the ASO in “The Lark Ascending” (with concertmaster David Coucheron as soloist) as well as “Dona Nobis Pacem” (featuring soprano Jessica Rivera, baritone Brett Polegato and the ASO Chorus). The recording also includes Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 4.

  • In the first of what’s expected to be several benefit performances, ASO musicians will perform an evening of chamber music at the hip Westside club Terminal West on Sept. 22, conducted by Mary Hoffman. “Jewel box” works by Bach, Handel, Puccini, Rachmaninoff, Holst and Albinoni are on the program.

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