The premiere of a new work for two double basses and orchestra and a series of vignettes based on children’s stories and paintings comprised the central portion of the Miami Symphony Orchestra’s program Saturday night at Florida International University’s Wertheim Auditorium. Still, the music of Bach and Prokofiev proved the concert’s high point, displaying concertmaster Daniel Andai’s considerable conducting skill and the ensemble’s cohesion and polish.

Voces Celestiales (Celestial Voices) by Orlando Jacinto Garcia, director of the FIU School of Music and MISO composer in residence, received its debut performance. The high harmonics for two solo basses is innovative, sometimes accompanied by overlapping vocal lines sung by orchestra members. Solo instruments conjured up eerie sonic effects. Jeff Bradetich, a distinguished pedagogue and exponent of the bass as solo instrument, brilliantly dispatched an angular solo accompanied by timpani. Luis-Gomez Imbert, the orchestra’s principal bass, was impressive in an astringent cadenza, at times playing near the instrument’s bridge. Both players fearlessly tackled writing that tested the instruments’ limits. By Lawrence Budmen South Florida Classical Review