Verdi performance a fit tribute to Galkin


May 04, 1991|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic

Elliott Galkin got a tribute he would have appreciated last night.

Galkin -- who died almost exactly a year ago and had been variously the Peabody Institute's director, a professor of music at Goucher College and, for 15 years, the music critic of The Sun -- hated the waste of words in either spoken or written language.

He would have been pleased, therefore, that there were no speeches about him before the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, the Peabody Hopkins Chorus, conductor Edward Polochick and soprano Deborah Kent, mezzo-soprano Nora Sirbaugh, tenor Timothy Bentch and bass Derek Anthony performed Verdi's Requiem Mass in his memory.

The performance of the piece was always enthusiastic, always competent and sometimes eloquent.

Polochick clearly knew the piece well and he made the best of the big moments in the thundering Dies Irae, if not always in the Requiem's most subtle moments. In like manner, the student orchestra played with more enthusiasm than with finesse. When the music was loudest, it sounded best; when the music asked for something refined -- as it does from the cellos at the beginning of the Offertorium or from the violins later in the same section -- the orchestra sounded less persuasive.

Both the orchestra and Polochick's well-trained chorus never swamped the soloists.

Some of the most moving, if not necessarily the most polished, singing was done by soprano Kent. Bass Derek Anthony sang with polish and insight, if not always with the power one wants in this part. Tenor Timothy Bentch showed a fresh, promising voice that was not always well-supported. Mezzo-soprano Nora Sirbaugh sang dependably and -- in her duets with Kent -- considerately.

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