Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Jorge Mester brought his admirable Louisville Orchestra to the Kennedy Center Monday night for one of the symphonic concerts in the current Inter-American Festival.
The evening's world premiere was a set of five songs by Ivana Themmen, 40-year-old composer from New York City. Themmen chose poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay for her texts, writing them for a high, lyric soprano. The soloist was Paula Seibel, whose expert charm in the title role of "The Golden Cockerel," being sung here this week by the New York City Opera, is one of the opera's chief assets.
Themmen chose Millay's "Oh, sleep forever in the Latmian Cave," "Wraith," "Wild Swans," "To the Wife of a Sick Friend" and "On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven." Her vocal lines are reminiscent of Richard Strauss, her orchestration drawn directly from his tone poems, even to the wind machine, which is grievously overworked.
The often-beautiful phrases come straight from the late 19th century. The performance by soloist and orchestra, sensitively led by Mester, was ideal, if you did not mind hearing almost none of the words.
The concert opened with a spirited account of Roy Harris's "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," included John Weinzweig's turgid Symphonic Ode, and Roque Cordero's warmly remembered, powerful Second Symphony.