Caroline Goulding

Review: Viva Italia | Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra | Bass Performance Hall

That's Italian!

Coming off months of stressful contract negotiations, the Fort Worth Symphony still manages an impressive concert of Italian and Italy-inspired works.

published Tuesday, February 2, 2016
1 comment

Photo: Jamie Jung
Caroline Goulding

Fort Worth — After weeks of contract negotiations, the threat of strike, and tension all around, this weekend’s Fort Worth Symphony program of Italian and Italian-inspired music was pure, sunny relief from all the drama. I was concerned that the distraction of proposed pay cuts and related indignities might distract the musicians, but they were in fine form, beginning the program with a sprightly rendition of Rossini’s Overture to L’italiana in Algeri.

The centerpiece of the program was Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, with soloist Caroline Goulding. Paganini wrote six violin concerti, but the first is played far more frequently than any of the others. Unlike, say, the Brahms concerto, or the Beethoven, Paganini’s violin concertos do not require much musical substance—just a ton of technique. Goulding, still in her early 20s, has technique to burn. Her intonation was almost impeccable, her facility was impressive, and in all likelihood she hasn’t even had to sell her soul to the devil to play so well, as Paganini himself was rumored to have done. I want to hear her again in a few years, playing something that requires soul as well as skill.

Just two things need attention, and neither concerns her sound: I’d like to see her play from memory rather than relying on sheet music—it’s a crutch. And in the long orchestral introduction, Goulding looked distinctly uncomfortable, standing in front of the orchestra in her red satin dress. She needs to figure out something to do so that she doesn’t look like me at a junior high dance, awkward and uncertain. When she began to play, she transformed into a dynamo.

Guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger ended the evening’s performance not with another work by an Italian composer, but rather one inspired by Italy: Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 Op. 90, “Italian.” Mendelssohn wrote his sister Fanny that the symphony “will be the jolliest piece I have ever done.” The Fort Worth Symphony under the baton of Lehninger produced a jolly performance indeed. The strings sounded especially clean in the first and second movements, while the horns shone in the third movement. Even when Lehninger ceased to provide a conducting pattern for several bars at a stretch in the speedy fourth movement, the orchestra maintained rigorous tempo and ensemble. An abrupt accelerando at the end of the fourth movement detracted from the usual drama of the ending, but it was a small quibble within an otherwise sprightly performance.

The Fort Worth Symphony is an important part of Cowtown culture, and it needs our support as it navigates this tumultuous time in its history. The orchestra is still providing fine music for its audiences. What can its audiences do for the orchestra? Thanks For Reading


Janet Silk writes:
Saturday, February 13 at 10:35PM

What rude comments about Caroline. Who cares what she looks like waiting for her piece, and I have watched her play from memory many times. If she has sheet music there was obviously a reason. I'd like to see you get up and play like she has been doing since she was a little girl.

Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
That's Italian!
Coming off months of stressful contract negotiations, the Fort Worth Symphony still manages an impressive concert of Italian and Italy-inspired works.
by J. Robin Coffelt

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :