Indianapolis Star

Tue 21 Jan 2014

USA debut with the Indianapolis Symphony

“Smith's sensitivity as an accompanist was complemented by the showcase performances he elicited from the orchestra in two well-known works:  Dvorak's Carnival Overture and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F major ("Pastoral"). The predominantly festive mood of the Dvorak achieved a high level of sizzle from the start. What was a more amazing exhibition of Smith's skills came after intermission, with an expansive, airy interpretation of the Pastoral Symphony. You could feel the open-air breezes in the swelling phrases of the first movement, Beethoven's introduction to the country scenes he was inspired by but had no intention of depicting literally. Smith drew from the orchestra a lilting forward momentum there and in the "scene by the brook" that makes up the second movement. He stirred up lots of rustic energy in whipping along the country dancing of the third movement. The feeling was earthy without ever becoming coarse. The fourth-movement storm was as intense as and even scarier than the violent perturbations of later compositions with the benefit of technical advances in instruments and vaster panoplies of percussion.”

Jay Harvey