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Music review: ‘Strings Attached’ is DSSO done virtually

The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra board and staff decided to start with a three-concert fall and early winter season, beginning with a hybrid of a small live audience and a virtual live streaming audience.

The DSSO’s “Strings Attached” concert on Saturday night gave a string section of 25 players a chance to shine, for both the few socially distanced masked in-person concert-goers and those sitting by a crackling fire at home enjoying it virtually.

The players and Music Director Dirk Meyer were masked and socially distanced onstage as well. Despite what seemed a bit surreal at times with so few people in the audience and the players spaced apart from one another, the orchestra ably brought back the sweeping magic and majesty that symphonic music played well provides.

With a colorful mix of American folk music, bluegrass, and classical music, the work of exciting young American composer Jessie Montgomery opened the evening with her delightful composition, “Strum.”

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“Strum” has moments that are at times jubilant and celebratory and in others wistful and longing. Montgomery’s weaving of melodies and strumming pizzicato help to create her own unique 21st century voice.

Astor Piazzolla’s composition “Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” was written as an homage to Vivaldi’s beloved “Four Seasons.” Without being derivative, Piazzolla instead uses some distinctively familiar strains and phrases from Vivaldi, but gives his own Argentinian slant with a full range of emotions from the tender to the sultry to the exultant.

Using his own unique style, combining jazz, classical music and tango, Piazzolla also created his fervent homage to his beloved Buenos Aires. Concertmaster Erin Aldridge gave the right amount of passionate swagger to her brilliant solos in

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