Both the concert and the film in this globe-circling installment of the Philharmonic's Travelogue Series had a pleasing feeling of coming full circle at the close.
The Buffalo Philharmonic led off with the "Huckleberry Finn" movement from Ferde Grofe's "Mississippi Suite," jaunty music with a near wise-guy ambiance including whistles and muted trumpet yowls, all deftly played.
Then after musical stops in Latin America, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Persia and China, conductor Arie Lipsky returned to the "Mississippi Suite's" "Mardi Gras" movement, with its famous "Daybreak" theme.
William Stockdale's film opened in Sabbath Lake, Maine with the five remaining members of one of two American colonies of Shakers. This celibate and dying sect is credited with the invention of the clothespin, circular saw and other everyday items. Its members now pass their days hand-making chocolate covered confections.
And the final stop was with the Pennsylvania Amish. Their austerity does not prohibit procreation, only conveniences like home telephones and electricity, prompting the invention of the gasoline powered flatiron.
A highlight of the concert was the Rondo from Lalo's "Symphonie Espagnole" played by orchestra violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub. She maintained the delicacy and light, bouncing vitality of the piece very well, with secure intonation and centered tone.
Three of Dvorak's bucolic or robust "Legends," the scraped gourd swishes of "Guaracha" from Gould's Latin-American Symphonette, "Chinese Dance" from "The Nutcracker" and Ketelbey's schmaltzy "In a Persian Market" concluded the concert.
After so many films concentrating on a single country, Stockdale's scatter-shot approach was refreshing. He showed us the world's three largest waterfalls, the road from Capetown to the Cape of Good Hope which John Gunther called the world's most exciting highway, and an assortment of lofty vantage points including Toronto's CN Tower, Capetown's Table Mountain and Hong Kong's Victoria Peak. We also learned that the Hudson River Palisades, geologically speaking, constitute a fjord.
Stockdale's cinematography was on the dark side and sometimes grainy, but his subject matter held the interest and his easy, unforced one-liner humor perked things up at critical moments.
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Travelogue Series, "Around the World by Magic Carpet," orchestra conducted by Arie Lipsky, film by William Stockdale.
Tuesday evening in Mary Seaton Room, Kleinhans Music Hall.