The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, November 4, as part of the Ancient Paths, Modern Voices festival.
The program’s concept is fascinating: two works by major Western composers drawing on an exotic, imagined China and two works by major contemporary Chinese composers tying together Western and Eastern musical traditions. Together, the pieces get at the way China appears in the Western musical canon and how that’s changing now that the “Western musical canon” isn’t so monolithic. Perhaps that sounds academic, but the concert was anything but. Vibrant and intricate, the music was enormously beguiling and beautifully performed—a fitting entry in Carnegie Hall’s festival celebrating Chinese culture.