South Florida Classical Review, Nov. 2016

Orchestra Miami artistic director Elaine Rinaldi brought along just the orchestra’s string section for its 10th anniversary season opener Sunday afternoon at Scottish Rite Temple in Miami. She also brought along two fine soloists with ties to the area: violinist Tomas Cotik and soprano Eglise Gutierrez. The Argentinian-born Cotik, a former New World Symphony fellow who has played with Florida Grand Opera and the Amernet String Quartet, performed a work close to his heart: Cuatro Estaciones Portenas (“The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”) by the Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla. Conceived by Piazzolla as four separate tango-like compositions and later arranged for violin and orchestra by Leonid Desyatnikov, Cuatro Estaciones Portenas challenges and engages the audience with long, dissonant passages and abrupt shifts in tempo and texture. It can sound dancey, folksy or jazzy with occasional Eastern European tints, too. Cotik applied a deep, urgent tone to the middle portions of the first movement, “Verano Porteno” (Summer) with playing that was deeply expressive. The opening bars of the second movement, “Orteno Porteno” (Autumn, call for scratchy percussive effects. Cotik executed the technique so effectively that it almost sounded as if he were sawing through wood.   Cotik seamlessly handled the frequent changes in mood and adroitly traversed the work’s myriad technical challenges while always keeping the focus on the music. Colors were beautifully conveyed and blended throughout; Piazzolla does not paint each of the seasons with one brush, nor did Cotik. Cotik, Rinaldi and the orchestra provided impressive advocacy for a multifaceted work that deserves to be heard more often. READ MORE