Zach Dennis

Commissioned by the Savannah Philharmonic

Peter Shannon, conductor


Coming first before Beethoven was a world premiere special for the Savannah crowd, a specially curated composition from Richard Sortomme aptly titled “TEN.” Prior to the performance, Sortomme broke down the piece, mentioning that in its opening moments, the audience would notice an exclamation from the orchestra, saying “Yes!” and “the Savannah Philharmonic is here to stay!”

Sortomme was not exaggerating. “Ten” exclaimed both statements and more, not only heralding the Philharmonic in this second decade of prominence in the city, but also sharing a love and affection for the history and decadence of Savannah. The piece opened with fanfare, but shifted more sensually into a sweeping ballad — echoing the haunting and alluring nature of Savannah’s streets, gazed upon through Spanish moss hanging over dimmed Victorian street lamps.

A shift back to the more fanciful and bustling seemed to represent the movement and flow of a pre-1900s city filled with the scurrying steps of commerce and prosperity, signaled through the string and woodwind melody. To close, the brass section brings you to attention as the timpani swells and the grand gesture to the Hostess City is given its due completion.

The enjoyment from “Ten” was its transportation — not into a new world — but the familiar city of Savannah and the ability to sweep you through the historic streets with the accompaniment of the Philharmonic.