July 14, 2024
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Southern Harmony

Up first: Grantham's Southern Harmony, an orchestral take on traditional songs of the region that started with "The Midnight Cry" – breathing woodwinds, a clock chiming, and a steady build of sound and energy. The rolling cellos of "Wondrous Love" offered a calmer, more intimate second movement. The third, a delightful arrangement of "Exhilaration" saw a trio of violinists on their feet, more fiddlers than classical musicians, while the rest of the orchestra kept time with syncopated hand-claps – a barn dance atmosphere of joy and youth that evoked spontaneous applause from the audience. The final movement, "The Soldier's Return," depicted in sound feelings of warmth and of the familiar, as if the homeland opened its arm to draw in the returning warrior. Glory, even, sounded in rising phrases. Yet tagging along through the movement, something dark and forbidding – as if the war were coming home, too, unshakably connected to one doomed never to fully return to simpler, more innocent days.

Austin Chronicle