In the first movement (Les Bons Temps), the imagery - of a city inundated by water - is palpable. The bluesy strains of the violin are overwhelmed by thunder.
The second movement (Acadiana) was, in a word, haunted. Whistling to yourself in the dark. A ghost of a melody.
The third movement (Fly Away), however, was the only portion of the piece which left something to be desired. A melody tried to build, but was ultimately unsuccessful. The concerto ends on the upward swing of a phrase, but without flourish. Weakly.
The audience response was lukewarm.
To be fair, a brand-new piece is a difficult sell in between Copland's Rodeo ballet and Dvorak's New World Symphony, but all in all the program (quite Americana) was sound.
But perhaps the ending is appropriate. Where have we gone since Katrina? What has become of New Orleans? While the city struggles to recover, still, from a devastating blow, what can they do but end on the highest note they can manage?
Incidentally, I was reminded of how much I enjoy the first movement of From the New World. We have so much spirit in this place... I can only hope we never truly lose it.