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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: drinkanddestroy on February 06, 2017, 10:57:25 PM

Title: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 06, 2017, 10:57:25 PM
So ...

dj and I have our thread  about art museums. And we have our thread about Broadway shows. Well, now we are adding symphonies to our repertoire. (Hey,  if we don't watch out, we might actually bring some class to the SLWB  >:D )

We were at three Beethoven shows at Lincoln Center in recent weeks. Tonight was the final one - one of the great nights of my life. Beethoven's 8th and 9th.  I just got home and should get to sleep, so I'll write more about it when I have a chance  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 06, 2017, 11:09:51 PM
I have been listening to  classical music for years, but I was never at a live performance until January 12: The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, with Stephen Hough on piano playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (aka The Emperor Concerto)

 It was appropriate that this was my first classical concert, because the Emperor Concerto maybe the first piece of classical music that I ever fell in love with. About 16 years ago, I heard it on the movie "Immortal Beloved," was hooked on that and hooked on Beethoven.

The second half of the show was Brahms's Third Symphony,  which is an awful piece of crap, so DJ and I left at the intermission. We did not want to ruin our memories of the Emperor with the crappy Brahms piece

This  program ran for several nights; DJ and I went on Jan. 12. The show from the final night (Jan . 14)  was streamed live on Facebook live. Here is the link https://www.facebook.com/nyphilharmonic/videos/10154695338457293/
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 06, 2017, 11:11:49 PM
Here is a not-very-positive review of that show http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2017/01/hough-philharmonic-go-introspective-with-beethovens-emperor/

Brief review from NY Times
https://www.google.com/amp/mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/arts/music/review-stephanie-chase-sara-davis-beuchner-new-york-philharmonic.amp.html?client=safari

This review more positive http://classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=14213

This review not so positive https://www.google.com/amp/s/bachtrack.com/review-hough-gilbert-new-york-philharmonic-january-2017/amp%3D1?client=safari

As i said,  I have been listening to these pieces for years - though often the same recording over and over, so I have not heard many dofferent versions - and I am certainly not well-enough versed in the technical jargon and in the different idiosyncrasies of musicians and language etc. to understand what the reviewers are talking about.



Anyway, it was a great night for me and DJ (especially him; he went home afterward, whereas I foolishly went to a movie theater and sat through the miserable SILENCE).


Ok I really have to go to sleep now. Will discuss our other two shows later.  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: noodles_leone on February 07, 2017, 12:10:01 AM
You guys are cute.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: stanton on February 07, 2017, 02:13:09 AM
Do you think we are invited when they marry one day?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2017, 03:25:58 AM
Do you think we are invited when they marry one day?

Wedding present better not be a Peckinpah BRD
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: noodles_leone on February 07, 2017, 03:43:17 AM
It will be a comedy BRD.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2017, 04:17:32 AM
a MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN hat?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on February 07, 2017, 05:44:16 AM
Had fun last night, Drink. Looking forward to reading your next installment. (Nothing in The Times today about last night's show, though)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2017, 08:27:45 PM
Oh, I should also mention: our seats were close to the stage, I think around 5 or 6 rows back or so, just to the right of center.

 Turns out that the best seats for a piano concerto are actually on the left of center, so that you can see the pianist's hands. We could only see his face.

But in David Geffen Hall, there is no such thing as a bad seat  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2017, 08:43:24 PM
Okay .... I'll start the next installment, in bits and pieces as I can

So our second show was Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm (ending an hour before the Super Bowl began).

The Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) http://www.bfz.hu/en/ conducted by Ivan Fischer, visiting David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center for an all-Beethoven show: the First Symphony; the Fourth Piano Concerto, with Richard Goode on the piano; and the Fifth Symphony.

Our seats were fourth row, right of center. Right in front of the second-violin section. Two blonde violinists right in front of us.

Maestro Fischer walks out onstage. The senior citizens in the audience (aka almost the entire audience) clap in their seats. One idiot in the fourth row decides to rumble the place and stands up as he applauds, and points at The Maestro, who smiles and waves. Someone asks the fourth-row idiot, "Is the conductor a relative of yours?"
"No."
"So you're ... just a fan?"
"Hell yeah!"

Interesting thing about how the BFO sets up the instruments: the timpani is all the way up front, on the Maestro's left.

The first violins are of course on the Maestro's left; the second violins on his right. Deeper in are the violas. The cellos are directly in front of the Maestro.

Farther back, on raised platforms, are the wind instruments. All the way in back are the basses. Six of them!


Beethoven's First Symphony is alright - I was not familiar with it before buying these tickets (in July! DJ and I have waited seven months for these shows!) I recently started listening to it a lot on my iPod - it's alright. Not one of Beethoven's masterpieces, but certainly damn good for a first and better than what most anyone else could do. Afterward, they wheel out the Steinway piano for the 4th concerto. Doing so, they rearrange the seats somewhat, and DJ says to me, "Now we have a clear siteline at three blonde violinists, not just two." I look up and see that indeed, the rearranged seats give us a clear view to another blonde Hungarian violinist. We'll call her Aniko. Cuz that's her name. Aniko Mozes https://www.bfz.hu/en/orchestra/mozes-aniko  And sorry to disappoint you, DJ, but it looks like she's taken and she has a bunch of kids. Here is her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/aniko.mozes.7

The 4th Concerto has moments where there are  Long stretches of piano where the symphony is doing nothing, and long stretches of the symphony with the pianist is doing nothing. At one point where the symphony was sitting around doing nothing for a while, I caught Aniko looking bored and spacing out. I laughed or wave at her and got her attention; she smiled back.


So, we go to intermission; the Steinway is wheeled back off the stage, as we prepare for the masterpiece known to all the world: Beethoven's Fifth.

BTW, funny thing about the BFO: the first violinist, Giovanni Guzzo, spends the whole show laughing. Not kidding. Smiling, smirking through the whole set.

So now, as the BFO walks onstage for the 5th, and I stand up and applaud, Guzzo's eye catches mine, and I mouth, "No laughing." He suddenly turns deadly serious - for the first and last time.  ;D

BTW, this is Guzzo's page http://www.giovanniguzzo.com/index.php

Before the Fifth begins, an announcement comes over the public-address system that for the fourth movement, the BFO will be joined onstage by players from the Julliard School and Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Funny thing is, in Beethoven's Fifth, there is no pause between the 3rd and 4th movements. It's like one long piece. So the music is in middle of playing, suddenly the side stage doors open, the kids run on with their instruments and the stands holding their sheet music and start playing. Was really nice. Lots of instruments, a loud booming sound, for Beethoven's Fifth, a great symphony that just doesn't seem to ever want to end  ;)

Funny thing happened during the Fifth - one of the blonde violinists sitting directly in front of us dropped her bow and had to bend down and pick it up  ;D

After the show, a great ovation, the entire place was standing. I clapped so hard and so long that the next morning, my shoulders were absolutely killing me. I could not lift my arm above my shoulders. But what a wonderful pain it was  :)

Then, of course, we go to a bar with DJ to watch the Super Bowl, meeting some (supposed) friends of mine. DJ leaves with Atlanta way ahead, figuring it's over. I know what Yogi Berra would have to say about that, so I stay till the end, and unfortunately watch New England's miraculous comeback. Plus, some girl problems at the bar. I figure it's done between me and the Kenyan girl. So, another great night at the symphony, ruined by the dumb shit I do afterward, instead of just going home with the good memory.

--

The next night, Monday night, is to be the granddaddy of them all: the second and last of the two performances BFO are doing in New York, featuring Beethoven's 8th and 9th Symphonies. The Little and The Choral. I swear to myself that this is going to be the greatest night of my life and that I am going to go straight home afterward and keep the good memory.

Did I keep that vow? Stay tuned .......  ;)

Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2017, 11:31:45 PM
I see here that there is a cd boxset available on Amazon: Richard Goode playing the complete Beethobven piano concertos, with the BFO conducted by Ivan Fischer https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Beethoven-Piano-Concertos-CD/dp/B001LRKATC


actually, this cd is available on YouTube for free from Warner Music

 Concerto #5:
1st movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obgbfG9N2jI
2nd movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzJvPcZ8Jlg
3rd movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzJvPcZ8Jlg


 Concerto #4
1st movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqrFJV0oaIc
2nd movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1tOj0pfgoY
3rd movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33ZuNPhlIhw


I won't waste my time posting the other three concertos, as they are all available in the same playlist there. Enjoy!
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2017, 11:38:48 PM
Had fun last night, Drink. Looking forward to reading your next installment. (Nothing in The Times today about last night's show, though)

I am looking around for reviews of our show but I cannot find any. I guess that in NY, maybe the reviewers only pay attention to the shows by the New York Philharmonic, for whom Lincoln Center is home, and don't bother with the visiting orchestras?


On that note, the tickets for the BFO shows were cheaper than the ones for the New York Philharmonic a couple of weeks ago (after the fees, a total of $145 per ticket, vs. $111). I guess the season subscribers and other idiots prefer the NY Phil. I'll keep that in mind and keep seeing the visiting orchestras at cheaper prices, and enjoying them at least as much.

Anyway, I cannot find any reviews of our show, but here is an interview Playbill did with Fischer a couple of weeks before http://www.playbill.com/article/budapests-ivan-fischer-master-innovator

--------

here are a few more interesting links:

Ivan Fischer discussing Beethoven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgOTVoDqZKc

Here is an interview of Stephen Hough - the pianist who played the Emperor Concerto at our first show, with the NY Philharmonic - discussing the Emperor Concerto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH1kKTEKv4s

here is a ten-minute interview with Hough, discussing Beethoven's piano concertos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN-jYcbCEXo

Finally, here is a video from last year of the BFO doing a "flash mob" version of Beethoven's 7th Symphony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soMMhncspEU

Now, the BFO and "flash mob" will come into play when I discuss the Monday, Feb. 6 show of Beethoven's 8th and 9th. But I REALLY have to get sleep now, so I'll leave that for another day  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on February 08, 2017, 11:48:31 AM
Your account is fun to read, Drink. I feel like I'm experiencing it all for the first time! Can't wait to hear about Monday's show.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 09, 2017, 11:47:57 AM
Okay, so i am at work now, but things are slow - big snow day in Northeastern USA - so I will start my review now of the Monday show. We'll see how far I get.

---

Monday, February 6

A warm evening for February in the Big Apple.

Show starts at 8:00 p.m. - Beethoven's 8th symphony, then an intermission, followed by Beethoven's 9th.

I exit the subway station at Columbus Circle about 7:10 p.m.,  and start walking the few blocks to Lincoln Center, when suddenly I see woman walking with a violin case. I recognized her immediately - it was Aniko, DJ's Immortal Beloved violinist whom I had made laugh in middle of the piano concerto the previous evening! http://www.bfz.hu/en/biographies/aniko-mozes/ I started speaking to her, and I reminded her of my shenanigans from the previous night. She said (in heavy Hungarian accent), "You are the one with the blue coat?" Actually, it was a blue shirt, but I said yes. We laughed and chatted a little as we walked the few blocks to Lincoln Center. She was with one of the cellists, named Gyorgy Kertesz http://www.bfz.hu/en/biographies/gyorgy-kertesz/. I took a picture with them - otherwise, DJ would never have believed me that I met his Immortal Beloved.

Now here is a funny story: As I am waiting for DJ to arrive, I'm chatting with some guy named Paul from Seattle. The subject of ancestry came up, and here's a funny thing - he said that one of his ancestors was a Hessian!  Those were the mercenaries hired by the British to fight the colonial Americans in the American Revolutionary War https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hessian_(soldier)
They are most famous as the jackasses who were partying on Christmas night when Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware and jumped them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington%27s_crossing_of_the_Delaware_River

Paul from Seattle didn't know if his ancestors was actually there during that famous incident. But this sure is the first son-of-a-Hessian I ever met!

--

ok, my boss finally arrived. Back to work. will type more tonight  :)

Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: cigar joe on February 09, 2017, 12:54:32 PM
can't wait  :P
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 09, 2017, 05:24:14 PM
can't wait  :P

can't appreciate culture   :P
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2017, 02:56:42 AM
alright, time to continue (sorry CJ  :P )

--

I can't believe it, but in the last post, I forgot to mention the most important thing: As I am walking with Aniko the violinist and Gyorgy the cellist, Aniko lets me in (somewhat) on a little secret: There's a surprise coming at the concert, she tells me. But she won't tell me what it is, and I'm going to have to wait for it; I'm going to have to wait till the end of the show. Remember, the show is Beethoven's 8th and 9th Symphonies, so that means, I figure, that the surprise is coming in the 4th movement of Beethoven's Ninth, better known as the Ode to Joy, the most famous symphonic movement (probably the most famous melody, period) in history. Gyorgy confirms that the surprise is indeed coming in the Ode to Joy, but that's all they'll say.

I tell Aniko that I won't be in the same seats tonight - I'll still be in the 4th row, but not on the right side in front of her like last night; tonight, I will be just to the right of center. She tells me to wave to her when she walks out, and she'll find me.

So, I take the pic with Aniko and the cellist, they go inside their entrance, and I go to the civilian side, where I have my shmooze with Paul from Seattle, descendant of Hessians, about Leonard Bernstein and Arturo Toscanini. DJ arrives, and after a few more minutes we go in.

I get a shot of Johnnie Black from the bar (they're out of my usual drink, Jack Daniel's). It's THIRTEEN dollars a shot - but their shots are really doubles, and hey, I'm supporting the arts, right? Officially, drinks have to be drunk in the lobby, but I sneak my drink into the concert hall under my coat. The only thing greater than watching a Beethoven symphony is watching a Beethoven symphony while drinking whiskey  :)

As DJ and I take our seats, I immediately notice that there is no room on stage for the choir. Beethoven's Ninth is known as the "Choral" symphony, as it was the first symphony to ever use human voices. The fourth movement features a mezzo soprano, soprano, tenor and bass; as well as a full mens and womens choir. I've seen many videos of performances of the Ninth; the choir usually stands somewhere behind the orchestra, or on a level above the orchestra; but I see here that there is absolutely no room for the choir. I tell DJ that the surprise Aniko was telling me about probably has something to do with how the choir is going to emerge. I start guessing how it may happen. I remember from the previous night how the Julliard and Bard students ran out on stage for the fourth movement of the Fifth Symphony (though the public-address announcer announced before the symphony began that that they would be doing so). I wonder - is the choir tonight going to run out that way? There's no room for them behind the orchestra - are they going to squeeze between the instruments? Are they going to slide down ropes? Maybe they'll magically drop down onto  magically appearing tiers on the wall behind the orchestra? I have no idea. But I'm sure as hell wondering - and I sure as hell did not guess right  ;)


At 8:00 p.m., the lights go down, and the BFO walks onto the stage. Most of the audience applauds in their seats; I usually stand. Aniko is indeed loking over the crowd for me. I wave at her, she smiles back at me  :)

Maestro Fischer enters, another round of applause, he picks up the baton, and away we go, for Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 in F Major. Beethoven used to call it "my little symphony in F." It's the shortest of all Beethoven's symphonies, generally taking less than half-hour. I previously mentioned that the Emperor Concerto (specifically the third movement) was the first Beethoven piece that I fell in love with. Well the 8th Symphony (specifically the third movement) was the second piece I fell in love with. I've been listening to it for so many years, and now ... I'm finally seeing it live.

Great performance. Loud ovations when it's over, and we head to intermission, and another cup of Johnnie Black from the bar in the lobby, which I again sneak back in under my coat.

We take our seats for Beethoven's Ninth. The orchestra walks out onstage, then Maestro Fischer, to loud applause.

The Maestro picks up the baton, the opening bars of the symphony begin, and away we go.
Feels like the moment I've been waiting for all my life is here!

The Ninth Symphony is more than an hour long. More than an hour of the some of the greatest music ever composed, by a man who was deaf.

As the First Movement begins, I notice that there is still no sign of the singers or the choir. DJ and I, at least, knew some sort of surprise are coming. All the other audience members must have been wondering what the hell is going on ... where is the choir?

---

I have to go to sleep now. More to come  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: cigar joe on February 10, 2017, 05:28:42 AM
Let me guess.... in the audience  ^-^
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2017, 07:10:24 AM
Let me guess.... in the audience  ^-^

Good guess  O0

Here is the Playbill interview from a couple of weeks ago with Fischer that I linked to earlier http://www.playbill.com/article/budapests-ivan-fischer-master-innovator

They mention here how he once before did a unique thing, putting the choir in the front rows of the audience and having the 4 singers scattered throughout the orchestra.

By our show, it was not the exact same thing here: it sort of took that concept even further ....
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: noodles_leone on February 10, 2017, 07:33:09 AM
I say in the audience too. I'm lucky to have experienced the same thing at a musical show about Barbara. It was an incredibly powerful experience, especially since, just like with Ode To Joy, the mise en scène fits the message behind the music.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2017, 09:13:22 AM
I say in the audience too. I'm lucky to have experienced the same thing at a musical show about Barbara. It was an incredibly powerful experience, especially since, just like with Ode To Joy, the mise en scène fits the message behind the music.

yes, it was in the audience. But not in a section of the audience. They were scattered throughout the audience. Wearing regular clothes. So nobody expected it. (See, unlike Aniko the violinist, I'm giving you a real sneak preview of the "surprise"  ;))

I also dropped hints by A) sharing the Playbill interview; and B) posting the BFO's "flash mob" YouTube video of them doing Beethoven's 7th. Because what happened with the choir - and also what happened with the kids from Julliard and Bard running on stage the night before (though that was announced), was a BFO "flash mob!" (Though the Ode to Joy thing has never been done this way by them or any other orchestra/choir as far as anyone I spoke to knew).

There is a one-minute video clip available at the Lincoln Center Facebook page of the choir in the audience and a one-minute clip of the Julliard and Bard thing from the night before

go to https://www.facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC/videos/

the one with Julliard & Bard students is called "Budapest Festival Orchestra Flash Mob" https://www.facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC/videos/10154944124493187/


the one at Beethoven's Ninth is called "Budapest Festival Orchestra: Concert Chorale of New Yor" https://www.facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC/videos/10154945363763187/

in the Ode to Joy video, you can see me and DJ. We are in the fourth row center, right at bottom of screen. I am wearing dark blue shirt and turning around to see the choir, so you only see my back. DJ is sitting to my left, facing the stage.

Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2017, 09:26:46 AM
DJ and I just got tickets for February 22, Beethoven's 7th & 8th Symphonies. The New York Philharmonic, guest-conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.

This time, we got seats way in the back of the floor, in center. It will provide a bit of a different perspective.

I assume that the absolute best seats are about 15 rows back from the stage. But those probably get bought up immediately by season subscribers.

The back of the floor is also cool cuz the floor slopes upward a little, so by the time it reaches the back, the seats are a lot higher than those in the front.

There are no bad seats at David Geffen Hall!
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: cigar joe on February 10, 2017, 10:53:03 AM
Did you bone Aniko the violinist?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: noodles_leone on February 10, 2017, 10:53:47 AM
This is the actual "surprise" element in this story. What a suspense!
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2017, 11:12:16 AM
In order to eliminate any possible suspense there, I mentioned immediately that she is married with kids.

Sorry boys, but our friendship is on a much deeper level than mere sex  ;)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2017, 11:13:16 AM
This is the actual "surprise" element in this story. What a suspense!

As a Hitchcock fan, you should be ashamed of yourself, using "surprise" and "suspense" synonymously  :P
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: noodles_leone on February 10, 2017, 11:19:37 AM
Maybe I wasn't clear. In this case:

The surprise she teased you with and then you teased us with is the answer to the existential "sex or no sex?" question.
The suspense is what happened after CJ wrote the question.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2017, 02:23:33 PM
Okay, I am waiting at the barbershop now, so have some time to  type what I can:

So the Ninth begins ... no sign of choir or singers. Finally, at beginning of Third movement, the four singers come out and sit down near the front, the men with the first violinists, the women with the second.

Fourth movement begins, still no sign of the choir.  The singing parts begin: as each singer's part comes up, he/she stands IN FRONT OF STAGE, sings and then sits back down.

Finally comes the moment: the bass singer says, "Freude," and the (heretofore unseen) choir is supposed to answer "Freude," - and suddenly we hear the voices coming from behind us. Yeah, the singers of the Concert Chorale of New York are sprinkled throughout the audience. Not dressed up or holding songbooks. Wearing street clothes and reading the lyrics printed in the Playbills, so that nobody would suspect who they are!

The audience is abuzz. NOBODY has ever seen this before. The Maestro is conducting the symphony in front of him and the choir behind him, at times turning to face the choir; so he is also facing the audience.

It's a surround-sound choir, spread throughout the floor and first tier. It is simply incredible.

With the final bars and the finish with a flourish, everyone the entire hall - and I mean every last motherfucker including the old men in wheelchairs - leaps to their feet and delivers the loudest and longest standing ovation you will ever see or hear. He who was not there shall never know what it was like. Every motherfucker standing and clapping and yelling and roaring. First at the Maestro. Then he bows to the singers. Then the orchestra. And then to the choir in the audience. And we applaud each in turn. The building is damn near shaking. We also turn around and applaud the choir members near us.

The four singers are up front with Fischer. Then the choirmaster comes out and joins them.

The audience is not allowing anyone to leave. They stars keep walking off stage, but are forced to walk back on again and again and acknowledge the thunderous roars. Something like seven times they left and came back. Finally, at the last ovation, I catch Fischer's eye - right in front of him in 4th row - and yell "COME BACK SOON!" He smiles and bows and says, "Thank you."

Eventually, the lights go up. But the crowd is not done, as we walk over to the choir members near us and congratulate them and speak with them about what is truly a historic evening.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY NOBODY NOBODY I speak to has ever seen anything like this before, with the choir in the audience like this. The BFO has never done this before, Fischer has never done this before, The Concert Chorale of New York has never done this before, the choirmaster has never done this before. None of the singers nor nobody in the audience has ever seen this before.

Since its premiere on May 7, 1824 at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna, Beethoven's Ninth, the greatest of all symphonies, has been performed who knows how many times around the world. On February 6, 2017, at David Geffen Hall in New York's Lincoln Center, it is quite possible this was the first-ever time that the choir-sprinkled-throughout-the-audience was done. This is another example of the BFO "flash mob." Maestro Fischer keeps finding ways of making Beethoven new and fresh. Not that Beethoven needs it. But it is very cool knowing that this may have been the first time this has ever happened – a new way of performing Beethoven – and that I was present for a historic show.


On our way out, DJ and I meet the choirmaster.

Then, after DJ heads home, I go to the stage door,  chat and get pics wih bass, soprano, First Violin and

Barber just called me!
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: PowerRR on February 10, 2017, 04:39:59 PM
Can you two have your next date be at the Scorsese Exhibit at Museum of Moving Image? Trying to budget in a NY trip and wanna see if it's worth it (I'm sorry - but I dont like NY generally. But every few months something draws me there).
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: PowerRR on February 10, 2017, 04:53:09 PM
Also I can't believe I just read This whole thread. I didn't read closely enough though... who is Barber?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: cigar joe on February 10, 2017, 04:57:20 PM
Also I can't believe I just read This whole thread. I didn't read closely enough though... who is Barber?

The Barber, he's getting his hair cut.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: Dust Devil on February 11, 2017, 04:09:22 AM
Now that was rather funny.

(http://www.pic4ever.com/images/119.gif)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on February 11, 2017, 04:53:08 PM
Can you two have your next date be at the Scorsese Exhibit at Museum of Moving Image? Trying to budget in a NY trip and wanna see if it's worth it (I'm sorry - but I dont like NY generally. But every few months something draws me there).
I hate, hate, hate the Museum of the Moving Image (and Astoria, Queens), so I for one won't be going.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 11, 2017, 04:59:35 PM
Now that I have my haircut, I can finish this  :)
I went to the stage door afterward and met some of the people.

Laura Aikin, the soprano, told me that the BFO is coming back to Lincoln Center in August for the Mostly Mozart festival, and that she would be performing in Don Giovanni. (I've never gotten into opera; haven't even tried. Maybe I should.) She, along with the other 4 singers (but not the choir, which is NY-based) is continuing on with the BFO during the rest of this tour: Chicago, Ann Arbor, Boston.


Aniko the violinist was gone by the time I reached the stage door - she probably was in a rush to get back to her hotel and have Skype sex with her husband in Budapest.


Giovanni the First Violinist and I had a good laugh (of course!) over how he is always laughing - he remembered me mouthing "no laughing" from the audience the previous night. Chatting with him about the evening's surprise with the choir, he is the first one who told me about the BFO's past "flash mobs" - which I have written about in posts above.

I ask every one of them, and not a single person I spoke with - audience, choir, singer, orchestra - had ever heard of this happening before.

I even met one American violist, a young man playing with the BFO like as a backup of sorts.

Finally, after a very long wait, the Maestro emerges. He definitely recognizes me from the audience because the moment I walked up to him, before I could start speaking to him, he says, "You are very kind." I tell him how much we all enjoyed the shows and that we hope he returns soon. He mentiones the summer Mostly Mozart Festival. I said that the next time he comes, he has to do one of Brahms's Hungarian Dances.  ;D (I have an album of Fischer and BFO performing a bunch of them, in my iPod.) He asks me which one I would like to see. I told him No. 1 and No. 4, and he said he will try to see where he can fit it in sometime ;D

I got a pic with the Maestro, said thanks and goodbye, and off I went, a happy little boy into a warm February Manhattan evening ......


Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 11, 2017, 05:04:53 PM
Seriously, I did not know that all of you would really read through these posts. I do appreciate it  O0

It's nice to have a place to keep the memories written down, and I hope that some of you found this a little entertaining  ;)

I have to add one important point - maybe the most important of all: I have heard many many versions of Beethoven's Ninth, with many different tempos - so I know what tempo I like - and Fischer's tempo was absolutely perfect. PERFECT.

I Know that I posted a bunch of links, and I'm sure that you did not have time to click through all or even any of them, but if you have time to look at one, at least click the one from Lincoln Center's Facebook videos. again,

the one with Julliard & Bard students is called "Budapest Festival Orchestra Flash Mob" https://www.facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC/videos/10154944124493187/


the one at Beethoven's Ninth is called "Budapest Festival Orchestra: Concert Chorale of New Yor" https://www.facebook.com/LincolnCenterNYC/videos/10154945363763187/

in the second one, you can see me and DJ. We are in the fourth row center, right at bottom of screen at the 13-second mark of the video. I am wearing dark blue shirt and turning around to see the choir, so you only see my back. DJ is sitting to my left, facing the stage.

-----

I  just saw this article from The New York Times

(note:  The author makes one mistake in first paragraph the Julliard and Bard students did not "unexpectedly" rush to the stage. As I mentioned, the public-address announcer announced before the symphony began that the Julliard and Bard students would join the orchestra onstage for the fourth movement. But with the Ode to Joy, the  choir in the audience was indeed a surprise.)

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/08/arts/music/budapest-festival-orchestra-triumphs-over-trumps-travel-ban.html

An Orchestra Triumphs Over Trump’s Travel Ban

By Michael Cooper

February 8, 2017


The Budapest Festival Orchestra and its conductor, Ivan Fischer, gave two of the freshest, least conventional Beethoven performances of the season at Lincoln Center this week. Music students unexpectedly rushed the stage to join them in a soaring section of the Fifth Symphony, and incognito choristers popped up among the audience members to sing the Ninth’s “Ode to Joy.”

But the high-energy concerts — part of a five-city American tour that concludes on Sunday in Boston — were briefly thrown into doubt by President Trump’s chaotically instituted travel ban. As the orchestra prepared to leave Hungary last week, it was informed that one of its cellists, a longtime Hungarian citizen, would not be allowed to enter the United States because he also held citizenship in Iraq, one of the seven predominantly Muslim countries named in the ban.

Mr. Fischer — who has become known as a voice for tolerance and inclusion as his native Hungary has embraced nationalist and staunchly anti-immigrant policies under the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban — suddenly found himself having to make the case for openness to United States officials, whom he called to protest.

“It struck a nerve in me, a very strong feeling that I will never allow anybody to single out a musician in my orchestra and disadvantage that person because of their origin, skin color, religion or any other factor,” Mr. Fischer said in an interview at his hotel on Tuesday.

Mr. Fischer, 66, who is Jewish and lost grandparents in the Holocaust, said that he had often thought of Jewish musicians’ being singled out and removed from leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic, during the Nazi period, some being exiled and some killed. “Having learned this lesson,” he said, “I have a very strong determination not to allow that ever to happen.”

So Mr. Fischer — who has worked to combat anti-Semitism at home by taking the orchestra to play in abandoned synagogues in Hungarian towns whose Jewish populations were killed off in World War II — spoke by phone to a State Department official. He argued that his cellist, whom he declined to name out of concern for the player’s safety, was as Hungarian as anyone in the orchestra, and that he did not believe that the executive order, which he read, applied to dual-passport holders. The next day, after pressure from diplomats in Britain, Canada and elsewhere, Trump administration officials announced that dual citizens would be allowed to enter the country.

So when the Budapest Festival Orchestra gathered onstage at David Geffen Hall on Monday evening to play the Ninth Symphony — and the “Ode to Joy” melody, a paean to brotherhood, was first sounded by the low strings — its cello section was intact.

The behind-the-scenes musical diplomacy was one of the more dramatic moments as the classical field adapts to a changing United States during the Trump era. The travel ban has drawn criticism from the League of American Orchestras and from Deborah Borda, the president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who wrote in The Los Angeles Times that it “betrays our immigrant roots.” The Seattle Symphony planned a free Wednesday concert of music from the countries it targeted. And Christoph von Dohnanyi, the former music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, wrote a denunciation of the ban, stating that his uncle, the German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was killed by the Nazis, would have opposed a policy that barred Muslims while making exceptions for Christians.

For American music lovers, the resolution of the Budapest ensemble’s visa issue allowed them to hear one of the most admired, and unusual, orchestras of the day. Mr. Fischer is reverent about the music he conducts but not about what he sees as some of the stultifying traditions that have grown up around it.

For this week’s Beethoven concerts, that meant placing the timpanist front and center, where a concerto soloist usually stands, rather than at the back of the stage; inviting students from the Juilliard School and Bard College to run onstage to play near the end of a performance of the Fifth Symphony; and sprinkling undercover members of the Concert Chorale of New York around the audience so they could pop up to sing the “Ode to Joy” at the end of the Ninth.

“I think if we hear these voices from everywhere — from the audience, from us, the people, then it comes much closer to the original meaning of the work,” Mr. Fischer said.

Even his rehearsals are unusual. He began a Beethoven rehearsal at Geffen Hall on Monday morning with a Bach chorale, which he explained was a tradition: “It creates a separation between the outside world and our world — it helps the mind, it helps the soul, it helps the ears.” He sometimes got down from his podium to wander among the players, and repeatedly leapt off the stage and ran to Row J to test balances.

Jane Moss, the artistic director of Lincoln Center, said that Mr. Fischer had become a New York favorite for his virtuosity and his expansive ideas of what concerts can be. “In 80 percent of the cases, my right eyebrow is going up as there is yet again a new idea, and every single time, it turn out to be unbelievably powerful,” she said.

Mr. Fischer will return to the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center this summer with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” one of several well-regarded semi-staged productions for which he serves as both conductor and director. (He calls the present tradition “completely artificial, with the director and the conductor being the two polarized forces pulling poor singers in two directions.”)

Asked if he saw parallels between the United States these days and Hungary — which has also had a rise in right-wing populism, battles over immigration and refugees, and the construction of a fence along its southern border — he said that he saw these trends in many places.

“I don’t see it as an American problem,” he said. “I see it as a worldwide problem. We now live in a period when fear is somehow misused and stirred up. And it’s an extremely dangerous phenomenon.”
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 11, 2017, 07:21:51 PM
I say in the audience too. I'm lucky to have experienced the same thing at a musical show about Barbara. It was an incredibly powerful experience, especially since, just like with Ode To Joy, the mise en scène fits the message behind the music.

well I hope you write about your musical experiences here in this thread.

That's really how this thread came about. After the show I told DJ, we have threads where we discuss Broadway shows and art museums, but none for (non-Morricone) musical performances. (The "songs playing in your head" thread doesn't count.) So I said I'll make a thread for the musical experiences. Just for the hell of it, I gave the thread the funny name about me and DJ going to the symphony, but really this thread is not about me and DJ (or me and Aniko  ;)) but for everyone to share their musical experiences. When I go to a Metallica or Ozzy Osbourne concert (I've been to three of the former and two of the latter!) I'll write about that here, too  ;)


I mentioned above that DJ and I are going back to Lincoln Center on Feb. 22: Beethoven's 7th & 8th Symphonies, with The New York Philharmonic, guest-conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.

I was just looking up Blomstedt's wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Blomstedt He will turn 90 years old in July!

I am looking up his stuff on YouTube. I do not see a YouTube vid of him conducting the Seventh, but here is a recent video of him conducting the (full) Eighth, with the Danmarks Radio SymfoniOrkestret (known in English as the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, or DNSO) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k4i_zxrDv0 (his tempo seems a bit fast compared to what I am used to with the Eights. "What I am used to" is the recording in my iPod of Wyn Morris conducting the London Symphony Orchestra) at the 26-second mark of the video you see a full shot of this hall - a very interesting hall! Like a bullring or an arena, the seats are all around above and the orchestra is in the floor below.

Blomstedt is conducting in that video without a baton.

and here is a full video of Blomstedt (with a baton!) and the Orchestre de Paris performing Beethoven's Third Symphony, better known as the "Eroica" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQWgwf33cLc
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 11, 2017, 09:15:53 PM
Just looking at the Facebook comments on the video of the "flash mob" choir on Beethoven's Ninth. One commenter, and older man named William Hosking, writes, "I remember doing this with Bernstein, Westminster Choir, in Washington, D.C." I asked if he can provide some more info; we'll see if he replies.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: PowerRR on February 11, 2017, 09:26:43 PM
I hate, hate, hate the Museum of the Moving Image (and Astoria, Queens), so I for one won't be going.
hmm what's wrong with it? A trip to NYC can get a bit pricey for me so I'm not sure if it's worth it
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 12, 2017, 12:05:23 AM
hmm what's wrong with it? A trip to NYC can get a bit pricey for me so I'm not sure if it's worth it

you don't live far from Boston, right?

today, Sunday Feb. 12, the Budapest Festival Orchestra tour hits Boston, playing the program they played last week Sunday in NY (Beethoven's First and Fifth Symphonies, and Fourth Piano Concerto). At Symphony Hall at 3:00 p.m. There are still tickets available. You should go! http://www.celebrityseries.org/budapest/index.htm?gclid=CP2Tiej-idICFcKEswodJqcIqQ
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: PowerRR on February 12, 2017, 05:37:22 AM
you don't live far from Boston, right?

today, Sunday Feb. 12, the Budapest Festival Orchestra tour hits Boston, playing the program they played last week Sunday in NY (Beethoven's First and Fifth Symphonies, and Fourth Piano Concerto). At Symphony Hall at 3:00 p.m. There are still tickets available. You should go! http://www.celebrityseries.org/budapest/index.htm?gclid=CP2Tiej-idICFcKEswodJqcIqQ
ya it's hotel and a whole day commitment that puts me off if the exhibit is no good.

And yup I'm about 40 min to Boston normally but I'm in Philly right now
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on February 12, 2017, 09:33:38 AM
The Museum of the Moving Image is not so much a museum as it is a movie theater with pretentions. It's a pain in the ass for me to get to, but if you're staying in Manhattan I guess it wouldn't be as much of a chore. As I said, I don't like the neighborhood much. Every once in a while they get films you can't see anywhere else, but for things that are readily available on Blu-ray I would never make a special trip. But hey, knock yourself out.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: PowerRR on February 13, 2017, 06:24:21 AM
The Museum of the Moving Image is not so much a museum as it is a movie theater with pretentions. It's a pain in the ass for me to get to, but if you're staying in Manhattan I guess it wouldn't be as much of a chore. As I said, I don't like the neighborhood much. Every once in a while they get films you can't see anywhere else, but for things that are readily available on Blu-ray I would never make a special trip. But hey, knock yourself out.
ok. In the case I'll go if something else in NY entices me before April.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 23, 2017, 09:42:31 PM
DJ and I were at Lincoln Center Wednesday night for The New York Philharmonic, guest-conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, playing Beethoven's 7th and 8th Symphonies.

This time, DJ and I sat 4 rows from the back (at our previous shows, we sat for 4 from the front) dead-center. The acoustics were noticeably worse, and from now on we will always try to get closer seats. (Ideal is like 15 rows from the front, but those get sold out first.)


This review is negative on the Eighth but positive on the Seventh

 http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2017/02/blomstedt-philharmonic-achieve-mixed-results-with-beethoven/


This review is more positive http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=14334

A recent interview with Blomstedt in The NY Times https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/20/arts/music/herbert-blomstedt-is-turning-90-he-is-also-conducting-over-90-concerts-this-year.html

From earlier this month, a negative review of a performance of Beethoven's Ninth with Blomstedt conducting The San Francisco Symphony https://www.google.com/amp/s/bachtrack.com/review-beethoven-choral-blomstedt-san-francisco-symphony-february-2017/amp%3D1
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on February 24, 2017, 06:43:43 AM
DJ and I were at Lincoln Center Wednesday night for The New York Philharmonic, guest-conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, playing Beethoven's 7th and 8th Symphonies.

This time, DJ and I sat 4 rows from the back (at our previous shows, we sat for 4 from the front) dead-center. The acoustics were noticeably worse, and from now on we will always try to get closer seats. (Ideal is like 15 rows from the front, but those get sold out first.)


This review is negative on the Eighth but positive on the Seventh

 http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2017/02/blomstedt-philharmonic-achieve-mixed-results-with-beethoven/

Gotta say I enjoyed the 7th a whole lot more than the 8th, but it's the better, more substantial work anyway.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 24, 2017, 11:46:20 AM
The 7th is definitely more famous, but I prefer the 8th.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on February 24, 2017, 04:44:42 PM
The 7th is definitely more famous
Not my point at all:
Quote
it's the better, more substantial work
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 04, 2017, 09:21:23 PM
Just saw this nice interview in The Guardian with Ivan Fischer, from last summer

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/12/how-ivan-fischer-found-greatness-with-the-budapest-festival-orchestra
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 14, 2017, 11:39:27 PM
DJ and I were at Lincoln Center Wednesday night for The New York Philharmonic, guest-conducted by Herbert Blomstedt, playing Beethoven's 7th and 8th Symphonies.


I just discovered a bit of trivia: "The New York Philharmonic gave the U.S. Premieres of both works, which Beethoven completed in 1812: it performed the Seventh Symphony on November 18, 1843, led by the Orchestra's founder, Ureli Corelli Hill, and the Eighth Symphony on November 16, 1844, conducted by George Loder."  :)

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwclassical/article/STAGE-TUBE-Sneak-Peek-at-Herbert-Blomstedt-Conducting-NY-Phil-in-Beethovens-7th-and-8th-20170220
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 08, 2017, 12:58:23 PM
RE: our earlier discussion of the "flash mob" of the choir in the audience for the Budapest Festival Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's 9th at Lincoln Center:
I found on YouTube a performance of Beethoven's 9th in which the trumpeter for the Ode to Joy is in the audience. This is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, conducted by Mariss Jansons at 51:14 of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYbSNJDDAfk

Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 19, 2017, 10:12:38 AM
I have been listening to  classical music for years, but I was never at a live performance until January 12: The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, with Stephen Hough on piano playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (aka The Emperor Concerto)

 It was appropriate that this was my first classical concert, because the Emperor Concerto maybe the first piece of classical music that I ever fell in love with. About 16 years ago, I heard it on the movie "Immortal Beloved," was hooked on that and hooked on Beethoven.

The second half of the show was Brahms's Third Symphony,  which is an awful piece of crap, so DJ and I left at the intermission. We did not want to ruin our memories of the Emperor with the crappy Brahms piece

This  program ran for several nights; DJ and I went on Jan. 12. The show from the final night (Jan . 14)  was streamed live on Facebook live. Here is the link https://www.facebook.com/nyphilharmonic/videos/10154695338457293/

That Jan. 14, 2017 show is available on YouTube

Beethoven's Emperor Concerto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvUlOezxsxE

Brahms's 3rd Symphony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhB_umc9F84

The new symphony season is beginning soon .............  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on October 19, 2017, 11:31:06 AM
Drink, thanks for the heads up. Something else you put me onto I appreciate knowing about: On Nov. 3rd there's a performance at Carnegie Hall featuring film music. There's some Korngold, some Herrmann: some kind of Psycho Suite. But also they'll be doing Herrmann's rarely performed Symphony #1. I'm looking forward to that.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 19, 2017, 12:09:04 PM
Drink, thanks for the heads up. Something else you put me onto I appreciate knowing about: On Nov. 3rd there's a performance at Carnegie Hall featuring film music. There's some Korngold, some Herrmann: some kind of Psycho Suite. But also they'll be doing Herrmann's rarely performed Symphony #1. I'm looking forward to that.

 O0 O0 O0
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 19, 2017, 12:45:36 PM
DJ and I got tickets for some 2018 shows but (due to various commitments and scheduling and women) may be going to separate shows.

DJ will be seeing the awesome Ivan Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center on Jan. 14, performing:
 Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. With pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2
http://www.lincolncenter.org/great-performers/show/budapest-festival-orchestra-2


I will be at Carnegie Hall (my first time!) on Feb. 15: Robert Spano conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke's:
Mozart's Symphony No. 40;
The world premiere of a new work by Bryce Dressner, for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. With mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor.
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, the "Emperor." With pianist Jeremy Denk.
https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2018/2/15/0800/PM/Orchestra-of-St-Lukes/


And I'll be at Lincoln Center on March 19, with Joshua Bell conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields:
Mendelssohn's overture to "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No. 2. With violinist Joshua Bell.
Beethoven;s Symphony No. 6 "Pastoral"
http://www.lincolncenter.org/great-performers/show/joshua-bell-and-academy-of-st-martin-in-the-fields-1


 :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 20, 2017, 11:43:02 AM
awesome video:

7-year-old Yo-Yo Ma, and his 11-year-old sister Yeou-Cheng Ma, perform at the American Pageant for the Arts in 1962, introduced by Leonard Bernstein.

This video is higher quality https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G2QKzp78Zs

This video is lower quality, but it has more of Bernstein's comments at the end https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNvAUobb1y4

Here is a brief clip of a 2017 interview, in which Yo-Yo Ma discusses that appearance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kzup9PK3blI

If you want to see the full 2017 interview, here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0E0U-9XOt8
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 28, 2017, 11:36:16 PM
There is a new biography of Arturo Toscanini, called "Toscanini: Musician of Conscience," by Harvey Sachs.

Here are some reviews

The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/books/review/toscanini-biography-harvey-sachs.html

Christian Science Monitor: https://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2017/0629/Toscanini-Musician-of-Conscience-is-a-feast-of-music-culture-politics
Here  is a review in The Wall Street Journal https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-lesson-of-the-maestro-1503091854

I will cut and paste that WSJ review below - half in this post and half in the next, because it is too long to have in one post:



The Lesson of the Maestro

By Lloyd Schwartz


I’ve just been listening to Arturo Toscanini conducting Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera” (“A Masked Ball”), the conductor’s last complete opera performance, recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1954. Harvey Sachs, in his comprehensive new biography, “Toscanini: Musician of Conscience,” describes in detail the process of rehearsal, live performance and post-concert “patching sessions” to correct minor slips in the recordings. The nearly 87-year-old conductor was not in prime health, and there were signs that his phenomenal photographic memory was beginning to fail him. Mr. Sachs finds weaknesses in this performance, as he does in many of Toscanini’s later recordings with the NBC Symphony, the recordings from which modern listeners know him. The performances of this period, the last couple of decades of the maestro’s long life (1867-1957), were often less spacious than his earlier ones—maybe a little rushed to fit broadcast time-frames and vexed by the dry acoustics of NBC’s notorious Studio 8H. “This version of Ballo,” Mr. Sachs writes, “must not be taken as holy writ.”

And yet listening to it, especially after reading Mr. Sachs’s compelling chronicle, I’m once again swept away by Toscanini’s forward momentum, in which incisive, brilliant attack and a flowing, singing line are, for a change, complementary and not contradictory. It’s that singing line that Toscanini’s detractors usually neglect to mention. In a remarkable recording made during a 1946 orchestra rehearsal for Verdi’s “La Traviata,” the conductor croaks all the vocal parts. It’s heartbreaking how much he wants to sing. If he had a beautiful voice, maybe he would have become a singer. But how wonderfully, from the very beginning of his astonishing career, he made the orchestra sing.

One of Toscanini’s most remarkable abilities was conducting from memory, for which he is still being imitated. When, in Preston Sturges’s 1948 comedy “Unfaithfully Yours,” an interviewer asks the Rex Harrison character, a preening conductor, why he conducts from a score, he replies: “It’s because I can read music”—both indirectly condescending to Toscanini and defending himself against the fad of memorization inspired by Toscanini. The Harrison character might be surprised to discover Toscanini’s serious studies of Bruckner —two of whose massive symphonies he led though never recorded. No question about Toscanini’s phenomenal ability to read a score.

He began as a cellist and, at the age of 20, was in the orchestra for the 1887 premiere of Verdi’s late masterpiece, “Otello.” He had already made his debut as a conductor the year before, when, on tour with an Italian opera company in Brazil, he became a sudden replacement for an inadequate conductor and led a performance of “Aida” from memory. He completed the tour leading 25 more performances of 12 different operas. Mr. Sachs reports that Toscanini later said he had “thought about becoming a conductor at twenty-seven or twenty-eight, but not at nineteen.”

His rise was meteoric. By 1898, he was principal conductor of La Scala, Italy’s major opera house, having already conducted the premieres of such classics as Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” and Puccini’s “La Bohème.” Later, as co-director (with Mahler ) of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he led the premiere of Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West” (“The Girl of the Golden West”), and back at La Scala, the premiere of Puccini’s “Turandot.”

Toscanini’s later detractors, especially the German philosopher and musicologist Theodor Adorno, attacked him for ignoring avant-garde contemporary music, especially the 12-tone compositions of the second Viennese school ( Schoenberg, Berg, Webern). But as Mr. Sachs notes, when Toscanini started out, much of the music he conducted was by composers still living or only recently deceased. He gave the first Italian performances of such daring works as Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” and Strauss’s “Salomé.” From early on, he was devoted to the music of that German firebrand Richard Wagner, whose music, both operatic and symphonic, became a cornerstone of Toscanini’s repertoire. Only a dozen years after Wagner’s death, he led the first Italian performance of “Götterdämmerung” and, in 1930, became the first non-German-school conductor to be invited to perform at the Bayreuth Festival, the sanctum sanctorum of Wagnerian opera. By the end of his life, he had conducted a repertoire of more than 600 works.


[WSJ review continued in next post]
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 28, 2017, 11:39:04 PM
[WSJ review continued from previous post]


Toscanini became famous for eliminating fat: keeping to the tempo markings indicated by the composer, not transposing keys and eliminating other excrescences of “tradition” (cuts in scores, or unwritten high notes or encores for singers). He returned to the old seating plan of dividing first and second violins antiphonally—that is, positioned across from each other rather than side by side—so that one could hear the dialogue going on between these sections. ( James Levine at the Met has been much praised for carrying this forward.) He even had to fight to turn the house lights off during an opera.

Each performance entailed a passionate new confrontation with the score. Few conductors were ever less on automatic pilot—which explains the intensity of Toscanini’s rehearsals. “Put your blood!” he notoriously screamed at his players. “I put my blood!” His photographic memory gave him an especially important edge as an opera conductor, because he could look at what was happening onstage. And what happened onstage—how accurately the action reflected both the music and the words—was one of his primary concerns. When he brought the La Scala company to Vienna in 1929, 21-year-old Herbert von Karajan wrote: “For the first time I grasped what ‘direction’ means. . . . The agreement between the music and the stage performance was something totally inconceivable. . . . Everything had its place and its purpose.”

Despite Toscanini’s outbursts of temper and occasional insults, most of his musicians loved him for his commitment to how the music should go. No wonder he was so admired by his most “serious” contemporaries— Igor Stravinsky (whose music he played only rarely), Otto Klemperer, Fritz and Adolf Busch, Bruno Walter, violinist Joseph Szigeti, pianist Mieczyslaw Horszowski, even his polar opposite, Wilhelm Furtwängler, with whom, Mr. Sachs demonstrates, he had a competitive and uncomfortable relationship.

Toscanini’s passion, as Mr. Sachs vividly demonstrates, was not only directed at music. Drawing on Toscanini’s letters (in 2002, Mr. Sachs edited a volume of them), he allows us to follow not only Toscanini’s career but his sex life. He married in 1897 and would never leave his wife, but he had long and intense extramarital affairs with some of his leading ladies—the sparkling Rosina Storchio, Puccini’s first Cio-Cio San, with whom he had a child; the glamorous Metropolitan Opera diva Geraldine Farrar ; the great German soprano Lotte Lehmann—and many other women, relationships documented in his graphic love letters. His home life was unfulfilling. Constant traveling was a torment. His sense of guilt was another torment. Yet well into his last years he couldn’t stop his more-than-flirtations.

In 1978, Mr. Sachs published an excellent biography of Toscanini, but this entirely new one—not a revision—draws extensively on newly available archival material, especially Toscanini’s own letters, and offers a portrait that even more fully humanizes the Great Man. Toscanini, Mr. Sachs shows, was modest almost to a fault, continuing into his 80s his rigorous studies of music and feeling mostly dissatisfied with even some of his greatest performances (although, on rare occasions, he knew when he had done especially well). He was shy about the tremendous ovations he received and angry when he felt they were undeserved. He could be petty but was more often inordinately generous—supporting people in need, especially musicians, with money and personal recommendations. Has anyone in the arts ever performed more fundraising events or done more benefit concerts without accepting a fee? “What emerges most clearly . . . in all of Toscanini’s correspondence with lovers, friends, or family,” Mr. Sachs writes, “is his seemingly limitless capacity for experiencing a whole panoply of emotions and states of mind as if they were raw, fresh, new.”

And as Mr. Sachs’s subtitle, “Musician of Conscience,” suggests, Toscanini was more than just a famous conductor. He was a true hero of democracy. From the earliest days of fascism, he was an outspoken antagonist. He profoundly regretted supporting Mussolini in the leader’s early socialist phase, given what he turned into. He got into trouble—and was even beaten up—for refusing to play the fascist anthem. He was so widely loved that even Mussolini was forced to return his passport after he had it confiscated. Toscanini stopped performing at Bayreuth after Hitler came to power and refused Hitler’s personal request to perform, in the process alienating Wagner’s daughter-in-law, Winifred Wagner, who essentially took over Bayreuth when her husband died. The idea of anti-Semitism, in a world of so many great Jewish musicians, was particularly loathsome to him—and incomprehensible.

Mr. Sachs is a lucid informant, providing all sorts of interesting details, down to which ships Toscanini took on his numerous Atlantic crossings. I confess that I find the list, in itself, an irresistibly colorful image of a certain aspect of 20th-century life: the Perseo, the Champlain, the Brazil, the Uruguay, the Conte di Savoia, the Vulcania, the Normandie, the Queen Mary, the Constitution, the Saturnia. A last-minute change in plans saved the maestro from boarding the doomed Lusitania.

More important, Mr. Sachs rises to each climactic turning point, creating moving narratives about Toscanini’s first conducting in Rio; his rising from the music directorship of Turin’s Regio to Milan’s La Scala, then to the Met and the New York Philharmonic; appearing at Bayreuth; performing with the BBC Symphony; returning to Italy for the gala re-opening of La Scala after the war; and especially playing a crucial role in the formation of the Palestine Orchestra (now the Israel Philharmonic) when so many Jewish musicians were being forced out of Europe and out of work.

One of the most complex stories comes near the end, with the creation of the NBC Symphony—the period during which Toscanini reached his largest audience and for which he has been most criticized. In 1937, David Sarnoff, the head of NBC and RCA, offered the 70-year old conductor the chance to form his own orchestra and give public concerts that would be recorded and broadcast on the air (and later on television). Toscanini accepted the offer and continued at the post for 17 years.

The broadcasts and recordings are how most of us know Toscanini, and even if some of them are not on the level of his earlier work with the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony, they include much that is valuable, including his overwhelming recordings of Verdi—especially “Otello” and “Falstaff” (his favorite opera and the one he led most frequently). Among the other highlights are incomparable versions of the last act of “Rigoletto” and of the rapturous, almost-forgotten final trio from “I Lombardi”; complete sets of Beethoven and Brahms symphonies; a rhythmically electric Schumann “Rhenish” Symphony; major Wagner recordings (with Wagnerian greats Helen Traubel and Lauritz Melchior ); Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy” and “Roméo et Juliette” (has any other conductor so completely captured the Berlioz melodic line?); Brahms’s delicately lilting “Liebeslieder-Walzer”; Debussy’s surging “La Mer”; and Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture” (surely the least schmaltzy but most heartfelt and soaring performance ever recorded of that familiar love theme). He even “put his blood” into perfecting such trivia as Ponchielli’s twinkling “Dance of the Hours” in a performance of such delicious buoyancy that I never want to stop listening to it.

Of course popular doesn’t always—or even usually—mean better, and Adorno hated the idea of Toscanini making classical music popular (and even worse, corporate), especially since he ignored the more challenging moderns. As Edward Said wrote in a New York Times review of Joseph Horowitz’s 1987 book critical of the Toscanini phenomenon: “Although [Toscanini] died too early to benefit from the great recent advances in audio technology, his legacy as the man who stripped phony traditionalism and sentimental sloppiness from musical performances will endure.” If you listen to the recordings freshly, with an open mind and an open heart (and in better sound now than when they were first released), you can’t help discovering one of the world’s greatest musical voices. Mr. Sachs’s necessary, authoritative biography reinforces that impression with a portrait of a complex, flawed, but noble human being and a towering artist.

--- Mr. Schwartz, a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is the classical music critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air.”
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 13, 2018, 10:29:17 PM
Ever wondered what goes into conducting symphonies and operas? Is the conductor that important? Is it just an egotistical motherfuckers waving a wand? What distinguishes one from another? What were the famous ones like? The jealousies and pettiness and rivalries ....


A new book by John Mauceri, a conductor himself: "Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting"

Here is a review in The Wall Street Journal, by Leon Botstein:


In his self-effacing autobiography, the Russian composer and pedagogue Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov confessed that conducting “baffled” him. If Stravinsky’s teacher had a hard time making sense of what someone standing in front of an orchestra waving a baton was doing (or was supposed to be doing), how can we expect audiences to appreciate and comprehend the art of conducting? Suspicion whether there is actually anything difficult or substantial to conducting is commonplace among instrumentalists who play in orchestras or with them as soloists. To the eminent chamber musician and critic Hans Keller, conducting was just a “phony” musical profession.

Keller was annoyed, properly so, by the arrogance and affectations of most conductors. But is conducting really “phony”? When the legendary pianist Arthur Rubinstein, already in his 80s, toured Israel with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra playing concertos he knew inside and out, he realized that there would be a 50-minute “sound check” before every performance (to permit all concerned to get used to the piano and the hall at each stop). Rubinstein asked the conductor, the late Gary Bertini, whether instead of warming up with the program before one of the concerts, he might try his hand at conducting. Rubinstein had never had the opportunity to conduct.

As Brahms was the composer dearest to his heart, Rubinstein chose the Third Symphony, in F major, for his private conducting debut. Bertini and the orchestra were thrilled at the prospect. The orchestra revered Rubinstein. They knew the Brahms. All four Brahms symphonies were part of the orchestra’s core repertoire. The score and parts were in the orchestra’s library.

At the agreed-upon day, the stage was set with the piano in front so the maximum time could be given Rubinstein. He went to the podium and raised his baton. The opening was a mess. Rubinstein stopped and started again. Chaos reigned, with little progress. Frustrated, Rubinstein stopped again and went to the piano to play the opening as he wished it to sound and then returned to the podium to try once more. His demonstration had no effect. Confusion triumphed, and the reading came to a halt. Rubinstein could not make the orchestra play together and reproduce what they had just heard him play for them. After three false starts he stepped off the podium, returned the baton he had borrowed from Bertini, and said, with a smile, “After all these years, I had no idea; but now I finally understand.”

John Mauceri’s “Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting” explains what, after 60 years of being a soloist with orchestras, Rubinstein should have known. Mr. Mauceri mentions how notoriously challenging the opening of Brahms’s Third is for conductors (recounting his mentor Leonard Bernstein’s own search for the right solution). Brahms’s complex rhythmic structure requires that the conductor show how the various instruments in an ensemble of more than 80 musicians fit together to produce Brahms’s arresting synthesis of melody and drama. The music sounds glorious, natural and straightforward. But to realize what Brahms wrote—forget matters of interpretation and nuance—requires the technical skill of conducting. Bertini must have smiled to himself when Rubinstein chose Brahms’s Third for his first foray into conducting. No matter how well Rubinstein knew the music, and could play it from memory in its version for piano (made by the composer himself), showing an experienced professional orchestra how to follow and make the music is harder than it looks.

What exactly constitutes the technique of conducting? There is an evident paradox. Conducting by itself makes no sound. The music comes from the instruments of the orchestra. Skepticism concerning the function of a conductor results from invidious comparisons. No one can fake playing one of Brahms’s two piano concertos, or his violin concerto. If one can play a Brahms concerto at a professional level, measured in terms of basic accuracy, in public, at a concert, there can be no doubt that one deserves to be called a musician, and a pianist or a violinist. To be able to do so demands respect and even awe at the required discipline and athletic achievement. But there are fakes, charlatans and successful mediocrities among conductors, including individuals who cannot read music but who have learned to mimic the gestures of conducting. They stand in front of professional orchestras and preside over a respectable account of a piece of music and take the credit.

Although the bulk of his book is devoted to outlining what real conductors need to know and the challenges they face, Mr. Mauceri believes that there is some ineffable quality about conducting that sets it apart and is not rational. He concludes that conducting is a “mystery” and cannot be taught. A form of alchemy is at work in conducting—an inexplicable wizardry. Therefore Mr. Mauceri frames his book, in its very first pages, by addressing directly a case with which many readers of this newspaper are likely to be familiar. The late Gilbert Kaplan, founder of the magazine Institutional Investor, was a wealthy music lover. He became obsessed with Mahler’s Second Symphony, listening to it endlessly in his car and at home. As a 41st-birthday present to himself he hired the American Symphony Orchestra and what was then known as Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center and “conducted” the work before an invited audience of friends and relatives.

How was this possible? No amount of listening could have enabled Kaplan to approximate playing any single orchestral part of Mahler’s Second on a professional level, not even the percussion parts, which routinely appear to audiences as easy (which they are not). Yet Kaplan succeeded by appearing to conduct. He looked the part but actually followed the orchestra. They organized themselves to coordinate the proceedings. There is a long, noble history of conductor-less orchestras; generating the illusion that Kaplan was conducting was clearly possible.

If Kaplan made it through Mahler’s Second, why did Rubinstein get stuck immediately in Brahms’s Third? The reason is that Rubinstein was determined to shape the music the way he was used to doing at the piano. But he could not translate his musical ideas into the pantomime that is conducting, using his hands, eyes and the space around his body (the tools of the conductor) to anticipate and control sound. He understood the music and what he wanted but soon discovered that the skills required were harder to obtain than he had assumed. With humility, he gave up.

Kaplan, however, did the opposite. He embraced the illusion generated by the orchestra. He went on to repeat playing at conducting, gesturing from the podium as if he were conducting—always the same Mahler symphony—over and over again all over the world. He even recorded the work with the Vienna Philharmonic. Despite a fanatical obsession with Mahler, Kaplan could never repeat this elaborate hoax with any other work. Kaplan could not read a score, was untrained in the materials and methods of music, and was not even proficient on an instrument. He was, to put it bluntly, musically illiterate. He was the beneficiary of recording technology—the capacity, since the mid-20th century, to become familiar with how a piece of music goes by repeated exposure to sound recordings. Indeed, in the 1960s a few long-playing recordings were sold with a baton so that the consumer, in the privacy of his home, no doubt with the volume turned up, could play at conducting an orchestra. This fantasy mirrored the extent to which a few high-profile conductors, such as Toscanini, Stokowski and Bernstein, had become stars and how alluring the role of the conductor had become.

Imagine an adult who cannot read or write and only speaks a language that is not English. By diligent use of recordings and videos, he memorizes the sound of every word and line assigned to Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play. He then dresses in the costume and recites the sounds of the text he has learned by rote. This person is not an actor; he does not understand the sounds he is making. No matter how amazing and near perfect this imitation might be, the curtain concealing the hoax will be lifted. In Kaplan’s case his initially charming and quite admirable display of the love of the music (he could have bought himself several Rolex watches and luxury yachts for what it cost him) persisted as a spectacle of harmless self-delusion at the margins of concert life.

Mr. Mauceri gives Kaplan more credit than he deserves, slyly claiming that some people believe the Kaplan recording of Mahler’s Second is the best, or one of the best, recorded accounts of the work. But Mr. Mauceri, using his own career, undercuts his own opening gambit by detailing how complicated conducting is, and how much one really needs to know, particularly when conducting opera, unfamiliar music and film scores. His book is as much a personal account of his life and career—a memoir filled with anecdotes and his opinions about music, performance, language and history—as it is a candid objective guide to conducting written for the general audience.

[ctd. next post]
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 13, 2018, 10:34:23 PM
[WSJ review ctd.]


Mr. Mauceri definitely knows what he is writing about. He has a distinguished conducting career. He studied at Yale under the eminent conducting teacher Gustav Meier. He was Bernstein’s assistant for nearly two decades. He has conducted all over the world. And his experience ranges from orchestral music and opera to popular music, movie music and musicals. Most impressive has been his advocacy of unjustly neglected works, notably those banned by the Nazis as “degenerate.” Mr. Mauceri has made pioneering recordings. He has been, at various times, the director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Opera, the Turin opera house and the American Symphony. He has conducted in every major venue—from Covent Garden and La Scala to the Met—and with every major orchestra in the world, and has worked with practically all the great soloists and singers. And Mr. Mauceri served with distinction at the helm of the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Mr. Mauceri holds strong views about conducting, including the need to interrogate musical texts to establish the composer’s intent and the right critical versions. He recognizes the obligation to get under the surface of music to reveal meaning. He is determined to push the boundaries of the standard repertoire so that more of the great music produced over the past 300 years can be heard live, which, for Mr. Mauceri, is the only proper way to experience music. He rightly stresses the indispensability of learning to accompany the voice and of working in the opera pit as part of required training

Despite Mr. Mauceri’s conclusion that conducting remains a unique mystery, “Maestros and Their Music” offers a succinct but candid detailed account of the training, trials and tribulations conductors go through, including loneliness, bad hotels, hostile orchestras, poor pay, greedy managers, philistine administrators, and mean-spirited and ignorant critics. The reader learns of Mr. Mauceri’s triumphs, successes and contributions to conducting. Mr. Mauceri’s many anecdotes—war stories of near misses and disasters—provide among the most engrossing pages.

Conductors are known for their outsize egos, and Mr. Mauceri, despite an admirable effort to show humility, is no exception. Even when he expresses admiration for others, he is somehow dead center in the picture. Mr. Mauceri can also be sharply critical. He is quite restrained in his admiration for Pierre Boulez and downright dismissive of Lorin Maazel, two of the finest recent masters of the technique of conducting.

The success, distinction, discipline and breadth of Mr. Mauceri’s accomplishment, all evident in the book, contradict the notion that there is something particularly un-teachable about conducting. The spirit, personality and serendipity that separate a fine professional from a star among conductors are the same qualities that do so among singers and instrumentalists. However, since orchestral and operatic life today is so dominated by a narrow standard repertoire and the quality of professional ensembles is so high, there are bad conductors and poorly trained conductors out there being rescued every night by their orchestras. But as Mr. Mauceri makes plain, faced with a new piece of music, or an unknown and unrecorded one from the past, or an ensemble of amateurs or students, the veil of mystery will be lifted quickly and all that should and can be taught to train a conductor will become obvious.

Conducting—the complex, multifaceted, silent use of motion and gesture to create sound and meaning—can be taught. How well it is learned and how imaginatively it is practiced vary. The distinction between routine professionalism and greatness in conducting is the same as it is in playing and composing. The only difference is that 20th-century technology has raised the standard of orchestral and operatic performance and made the currency of conducting easy to counterfeit. Anyone who finishes Mr. Mauceri’s book will understand why Rubinstein stopped, why Kaplan managed to carry on and why Mr. Mauceri deserves recognition as a real conductor.

— Mr. Botstein is the president of Bard College and the music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on January 15, 2018, 05:24:30 PM
DJ and I got tickets for some 2018 shows but (due to various commitments and scheduling and women) may be going to separate shows.

DJ will be seeing the awesome Ivan Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center on Jan. 14, performing:
 Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. With pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet
Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2
http://www.lincolncenter.org/great-performers/show/budapest-festival-orchestra-2
Had a lot of fun at this. The three pieces were all very different. The Bach was a chamber piece for 8 performers, some or all on period instruments. Fischer himself (with his back to the audience) manned a primitive organ. My date (not Drink on this occasion) was gratified to be able to finally hear a harpsichord played live. She also pointed out the fact that the flute being played was not the modern version. The rest of the group performed on various string instruments,  but I was unsure of their vintage. Two negatives: I find most Bach a bit dull; and, a chamber group performing in Avery Fisher/David Geffen Hall doesn't have the stuff to project enough sound for the place. It was all too pleasant, too quiet, too soporific. At least it was short (24 minutes).

Then the full orchestra came in with the guest pianist, Denes Varjon (not Mr. Thibaudet as originally advertised). Fischer's platform was set up on the other side of piano, so that the pianist was sitting front and center where everyone could enjoy his performance. This meant Fischer's conducting was obscured, but I was happy with the trade-off. A program note informed us that "Mr. Varjon will play Beethoven's cadenzas." What does that mean? Do pianists performing this piece sometimes play cadenzas by other composers? Do they improvise? I couldn't quite see the point of the note. Nonetheless, Mr. Vajon was a demon on the keyboard, with both a light touch and a commanding presence. Thirty-five minutes later he got standing ovations by many--I myself found myself on my feet at this point. Afterwards, Mr. Varjon performed an encore, a short piece for solo piano that I did not recognize. He called out the name before starting, but he was not mic-ed and I was way, way too far away to hear what he said.

After the intermission it was time for the Rachmaninoff (55 minutes), which I had never heard before. There was no piano for this--hah, Rachmaninoff without piano!--but plenty of orchestral pyrotechnics, yeah. The first movement was filled with potential movie music moments--I guess Messrs. Korngold, Steiner, and Waxman heard this a few times in their youth. Nothing seemed to have been stolen outright--I didn't hear anything I recognized--but as I listened I could easily imagine bits of the music accompanying scenes from some of my favorite films. This and the second movement had a lot of changes, dynamically and otherwise, and surprise seemed to be the point of many of these. Fisher was very aggressive throughout: at one point it looked like he was sparring with his string section, at another it looked like he was suffering a bout of apoplexy as he cued his horn section. The frenzy of the first two movements gave way to the lush romantic theme of the third. I recognized the theme, but took a moment to place it. It was Eric Carmen's "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again"! Of course, pop composers have been raiding the masters for years, I just hadn't realized Mr. Carmen's theft had been so conspicuous. I have to admit Mr. Carmen has good taste, though. The fourth movement was a capitulation of all that had gone on before, plus, I believe, the introduction of a new theme. Then there was the boffo finish, a bit of parody if you ask me. The performers were impressive and received many standing ovations. There was, apparently, an encore after that, but I couldn't stay--I had to hurry over to PJ Clark's for my $25 hamburger so that I'd be done in time for my movie at the AMC Lincoln at 7 (but that's another story).
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 15, 2018, 05:32:19 PM
 O0 O0 O0

Great review!

Where were your seats?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on January 16, 2018, 06:48:58 AM
They were in the HH row--about 10 rows farther back than I would have liked. I was able to see the pianist well enough, but for the other players it was hard to see what they were up to. I had no trouble seeing what Fischer was doing, of course (except for the Beethoven, as I mentioned). The seats were almost in the center of the row, so we were well positioned as far as that goes. I can't complain about the price--thanks again, Drink, for arranging things. My date really enjoyed it and demonstrated her appreciation afterwards.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 16, 2018, 08:32:03 AM
How many rows from the stage is that?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on January 16, 2018, 09:34:29 AM
I think about 35.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 31, 2018, 11:48:07 AM
RE: our earlier discussion of the "flash mob" of the choir in the audience for the Budapest Festival Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's 9th at Lincoln Center:
I found on YouTube a performance of Beethoven's 9th in which the trumpeter for the Ode to Joy is in the audience. This is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, conducted by Mariss Jansons at 51:14 of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYbSNJDDAfk


I just watched the video again. The trumpeter is not exactly in the audience. Sort of.  In this hall, tehre are some seats behind the orchestra, facing the conductor. For this bit, the trumpeter was standing on the steps by those seats, behind teh rest of teh orchestra, among the audience in those seats, but not among the audience in the main part of the hall.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 01, 2018, 12:51:28 AM
Lincoln Center just released the calendar for the 2018-2019 season of the "Great Performers" series

http://www.lincolncenter.org/great-performers/subscribe?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=GP-1819-SeasonAnnouncement-Acq
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 18, 2018, 12:25:32 AM
I was at Carnegie Hall Thursday night (first time).

Program page here https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2018/02/15/ORCHESTRA-OF-ST-LUKES-0800PM

Mozart's 40th Symphony
A new musical piece composed by Bryce Dessner, for orchestra and mezzo soprano
And Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor"

Featuring the New York-based Orchestra of St. Lukes, conducted by Robert Spano https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Spano

Standing outside the hall before the show, who did I see but Elliot Spitzer! Yes, the man who was attorney general of New York state, then elected governor, then had to resign in disgrace after being busted for hiring whores in the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Particularly notorious because the whores reportedly said that during sex he wore his high black socks!  >:D He tried a political comeback a few years ago, running for New York City Comptroller, but lost in the Democratic primary. Recently, stories have emerged in the tabloids, he has been involved with some Russian call girl working in New York City, she accused him of attacking her, she went to a hospital, he showed up there in some costume thinking people wouldn't recognize him, she was then busted for trying to extort him, etc. etc. etc. Bottom line is that he has become a national punchline. And he was standing on the corner of 57th Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan Thursday evening just before 8 pm, looking down at his phone, presumably waiting for his ... company? ... to show up. I was going to shout "fucking steamroller!" https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-newyork/ny-gov-spitzer-stands-by-steamroller-boast-idUSN3119261020070131 but my friend who I was with politely asked me not to, so for her sake, I didn't.

Our seats were on the floor, 17 rows back, just to the left of center – i.e., perfectly aligned with the pianist's hands. More on that later.

First up was Mozart's 40th Symphony. Everyone is familiar with the opening bars of this symphony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8bZ7vm4_6M it's a popular cellphone ringtone. This is one of Mozart's most famous symphonies. And in my opinion, it sucks. Opening movement is ok, maybe there is a bit of good in the second movement; third and fourth are shit. In short, it sucks. Happily, it is less than half an hour long. I had no interest in this piece.

Next up was a new piece of music composed by Bryce Dessner https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryce_Dessner
The piece, called "Voy a dormir," is from four poems by the late Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfonsina_Storni

Each of this piece's four movements is one poem by Storni. Each of the four poems is sung by a mezzo-soprano, with orchestral backing. The mezzo-soprano is Kelly O'Connor http://kelleyoconnor.com/ – the piece was composed by Dessner specifically for her, and she helped select the four Storni poems that would comprise the piece. The title "Voy a dormir," ("I'm going to sleep") comes from her last poem. Storni had a very difficult life, and had breast cancer. In October 1938, she mailed the poem "Voy a dormir" to a newspaper, and shortly thereafter, her body was found washed up on the beach; she is believed to have drowned herself.

This was the world premiere of the song "Voy a dormir," and for the sake of music, I hope this is the last time it is ever performed. It is shit. The poem sung mournfully with orchestral backing. Absolute shit. I also couldn't hear O'Connor as loudly as I'd have liked, ditto with the symphony throughout; not terribly low, but not as loud as I'd have liked. Maybe I'm deaf or maybe it's just that Carnegie Hall has crappy acoustics.

I refused to cheer after this song.

So we go to intermission. You must think I'm having a miserable time. And you'd be WRONG. I came to this show almost entirely for one reason: the Emperor Concerto. If you're unfamiliar with it, here is great a version from last year at Lincoln Center https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvUlOezxsxE )



At Carnegie Hall, the pianist was Jeremy Denk https://jeremydenk.net/

The performance was great!

Opening of first movement was played a bit faster than what I'm used to ("what I'm used to")is this performance I linked to above, and a an audio recording, i think from the 70's, by Arthur Rubinstein, conducted by Daniel Barenboim), but I guess that just displayed the pianist's talents even more?  ;) It was a terrific experience. As I mentioned, I lined up my tickets to have seats directly in line with the pianist's hands. Too far to the right, and you can only see his face. Too far to the left, and you can perhaps see his hands, but also his back. My seat was literally on a direct line with Denk's bench, so I could see both the speed in which he moved his hands, and also his facial expressions. And Denk is quite expressive! Often, while he is playing, he is not looking down at his hands, but to his right, out at the crowd, smiling, sort of interacting with the audience! And during the times he is not playing and it's just the symphony, his hands are often moving in the air, along with the conductor's. (Note: During this piano concerto, I could not see Spano, the conductor, at all, because he was blocked by the piano. But that was totally ok.  :) )

The Emperor Concerto is one of my favorite pieces of music in the world, and any night on which you can see it performed live is a great night!

The ovations for the orchestra, Spano and Denk, were long, loud, and well-deserved. As we were leaving, I noticed that Dessner had been sitting just a few seats over from me. I was in too good a mood to tell him that he had composed a piece of shit.  >:D
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on February 19, 2018, 10:06:54 AM
Good review (and great snarky commentary on ES!). I like the little Dessner music I've heard (as it happens, I was just listening to the CD he appears on with J. Greenwood before reading your post), so I probably would have enjoyed that part of the program more than you. The Emperor Concerto at speed sounds like an interesting approach. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the show. I think the acoustics at Carnegie Hall are the best in the world. Better than at Lincoln Center (which are very good).
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 19, 2018, 05:30:51 PM
Good review (and great snarky commentary on ES!). I like the little Dessner music I've heard (as it happens, I was just listening to the CD he appears on with J. Greenwood before reading your post), so I probably would have enjoyed that part of the program more than you. The Emperor Concerto at speed sounds like an interesting approach. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the show. I think the acoustics at Carnegie Hall are the best in the world. Better than at Lincoln Center (which are very good).
Regarding acoustics: maybe I am just used to heavy-metal concerts, which are booming. I like all music loud - including classical. But I really know almost nothing about classical music, so any criticisms I ever make should be taken with a grain of salt.

I would not say that the entire concerto was especially fast – I only noticed it particularly in the opening.

Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 02, 2018, 10:39:01 PM
DJ and I went recently to this show at Lincoln Center

http://www.lincolncenter.org/great-performers/show/joshua-bell-and-academy-of-st-martin-in-the-fields-1

conductor/violinist Joshua Bell and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Mendelssohn: Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”)

We had decent seats - a few rows from the back, but dead center.


During the Mendelssohn and Beethoven pieces, Bell conducts and also is the principal first violinist aka "concertmaster." He conducts and plays his violin, all while sitting where the concertmaster usually sits. During the moments in which first violins are not playing, he'll conduct using his bow as a baton. (While he is playing, I guess maybe he uses head movements to conduct?)

During the Wieniawski piece, a violin concerto, Bell conducts and plays the violin solos, all while standing. The violinist who was sitting next to Bell during the other pieces, is concertmaster during this piece. During the times there are no violin solos, Bell is facing the orchestra and conducting like a normal conductor – except that he is using his bow as a baton in his right hand and there happens to be a violin in his left hand, ready to use when needed. When he has to play his violin solos, he turns to face the audience; the concertmaster then acts as conductor from his seat, using his bow as a baton, just as Bell does during the other two pieces.

The show was really nice. The Mendelssohn piece is  very good. The Wieniawski piece is awful. Beethoven's Pastoral symphony is one of my favorite pieces of music; this was my first time seeing it live  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on April 03, 2018, 10:53:10 AM
Me too, and now I want to see it again and again. I wouldn't say the Wieniawski piece is awful--it gave Bell plenty of opportunities for pyrotechnics, after all--it just isn't very memorable. I'm undecided on the Mendelssohn.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 05, 2018, 03:05:05 PM
I'm undecided on the Mendelssohn.

watch it again and decide that it's a very good piece! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=614ew5HY8vM
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 05, 2018, 03:33:44 PM
Miss Hungary and I were at Lincoln Center last night, to see the New York Philharmonic.

https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/1718/salonen-conducts-beethoven-eroica-symphony


The show concert was conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esa-Pekka_Salonen who is currently the Composer-In-Residence at the New York Philharmonic.

(As an aside: the Philharmonic has not had an official musical director this year: Alan Gilbert https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Gilbert_(conductor) finished in 2017; they announced Jaap van Zweden as the Director-Designate; he will officially become Director next year https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaap_van_Zweden )

Just before the show, I went to the box office and spent a crapload of money upgrading to spectacular seats – these never would have been available to general public; must have been seats of subscribers who canceled – 24 rows back, dead center  :) :) :)

The program featured the world premiere of a new work – a New York Philharmonic Commission), called "Metacosmos," composed by Anna Thorvaldsdottir https://nyphil.org/whats-new/2018/january/anna-thorvaldsdottir-commission-metacosmos-world-premiere-april

At the start, Salonen and Thorvaldsdottir  came out onto the stage, and had a little conversation about the meaning behind the work. Apparently, it is something about moving on to the afterlife, going through life with all the seeming chaos and anxiety, and learning to accept life and the mixture of the chaos and the beauty etc.

The piece has lots of annoying whooshing sounds and rumbles and clanging (presumably to represent chaos and anxiety), and some decent melodic parts (presumably to represent beauty and joy) which were sadly, few and far between. I was very happy when this piece of shit was over. Fortunately, it was only 12 minutes long.

Here is a New York Times review of the show, which discusses the piece a bit more and also features a short video of a rehearsal of thhis piece https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic-esa-pekka-salonen.html

Some more on Thorvaldsdottir and the piece https://nyphil.org/whats-new/2018/january/anna-thorvaldsdottir-commission-metacosmos-world-premiere-april

Fortunately, once it was over, the real show could begin:

Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto, featuring the 25-year-old British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor in his NY Philharmonic subscription debut. Then was Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, the "Eroica." The Eroica's first movement was played faster than what I am used to hearing (a recording of Leonard Bernstein with the NY Philharmonic). Here is a review in the NY Classical Review, which is pretty harsh on Salonen's interpretation of the Eroica http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2018/04/world-premiere-piano-debut-ignite-salonens-philharmonic-program/

This was the first time I have seen either of these Beethoven pieces. And I had hardly ever listened to them previously, either – with the exception of the first movement of the Eroica.

The 3rd piano concerto – though certainly not on the level of the 4th or the 5th – is alright. Opening movement is ok, second is not particularly memorable, third is pretty good.

The Eroica's first movement is very famous. The second is slow and not very good. The third and fourth, perhaps ok, I have to listen to them again.

All I know is, being in great seats at David Geffen Hall with the prettiest girl in the room. (Not that difficult, I admit, in a room where 90% of the women are at least 80 years old  ;) )

A great night!!!  :) :) :) :) :) :)




Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: cigar joe on April 05, 2018, 03:55:40 PM
Miss Hungary and I were at Lincoln Center last night, to see the New York Philharmonic.

https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/1718/salonen-conducts-beethoven-eroica-symphony


The show concert was conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esa-Pekka_Salonen who is currently the Composer-In-Residence at the New York Philharmonic.

(As an aside: the Philharmonic has not had an official musical director this year: Alan Gilbert https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Gilbert_(conductor) finished in 2017; they announced Jaap van Zweden as the Director-Designate; he will officially become Director next year https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaap_van_Zweden )

Just before the show, I went to the box office and spent a crapload of money upgrading to spectacular seats – these never would have been available to general public; must have been seats of subscribers who canceled – 24 rows back, dead center  :) :) :)

The program featured the world premiere of a new work – a New York Philharmonic Commission), called "Metacosmos," composed by Anna Thorvaldsdottir https://nyphil.org/whats-new/2018/january/anna-thorvaldsdottir-commission-metacosmos-world-premiere-april

At the start, Salonen and Thorvaldsdottir  came out onto the stage, and had a little conversation about the meaning behind the work. Apparently, it is something about moving on to the afterlife, going through life with all the seeming chaos and anxiety, and learning to accept life and the mixture of the chaos and the beauty etc.

The piece has lots of annoying whooshing sounds and rumbles and clanging (presumably to represent chaos and anxiety), and some decent melodic parts (presumably to represent beauty and joy) which were sadly, few and far between. I was very happy when this piece of shit was over. Fortunately, it was only 12 minutes long.

Here is a New York Times review of the show, which discusses the piece a bit more and also features a short video of a rehearsal of thhis piece https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/04/05/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic-esa-pekka-salonen.html

Some more on Thorvaldsdottir and the piece https://nyphil.org/whats-new/2018/january/anna-thorvaldsdottir-commission-metacosmos-world-premiere-april

Fortunately, once it was over, the real show could begin:

Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto, featuring the 25-year-old British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor in his NY Philharmonic subscription debut. Then was Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, the "Eroica." The Eroica's first movement was played faster than what I am used to hearing (a recording of Leonard Bernstein with the NY Philharmonic). Here is a review in the NY Classical Review, which is pretty harsh on Salonen's interpretation of the Eroica http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2018/04/world-premiere-piano-debut-ignite-salonens-philharmonic-program/

This was the first time I have seen either of these Beethoven pieces. And I had hardly ever listened to them previously, either – with the exception of the first movement of the Eroica.

The 3rd piano concerto – though certainly not on the level of the 4th or the 5th – is alright. Opening movement is ok, second is not particularly memorable, third is pretty good.

The Eroica's first movement is very famous. The second is slow and not very good. The third and fourth, perhaps ok, I have to listen to them again.

All I know is, being in great seats at David Geffen Hall with the prettiest girl in the room. (Not that difficult, I admit, in a room where 90% of the women are at least 80 years old  ;) )

A great night!!!  :) :) :) :) :) :)






Did you get Lucky? is all we want to know.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 07, 2018, 05:34:37 PM
Did you get Lucky? is all we want to know.

Situation with her is VERY complicated. Girl is NUTS  :-*
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 10, 2018, 11:14:07 AM
Stolen Stradivarius found after decades comes to life again

https://apnews.com/908cb3c9b3c34de3ab7b3102810c4626
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on October 10, 2018, 11:42:01 AM
Cool!
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 10, 2018, 12:31:25 PM
I'm in Washington for a few days of intensive international diplomacy with Miss Korea.

We're going to see the National Symphony Orchestra tomorrow night, for 2 Mendelssohn pieces and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony (No. 6).

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/NTCSB

The National Symphony Orchestra plays at the Kennedy Center – the tickets are dirt cheap compared to the New York Philharmonic, and based on the ticket map, the place seems to be half-empty - so you can get great seats even close to the event without being a season subscriber. Two weeks ago, we got a pair of seats in dead center about 18 rows back.

Before the symphony, we'll try to go to the National Zoo and see the pandas – that way I can make Miss Hong Kong jealous in more ways than one ;)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 21, 2018, 09:10:08 PM
I went to the symphony the other night with Miss Korea. At the Kennedy Center in Washington, for the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach.

Eschenbach was the Director of the NSO from 2010-2017; now Gianandrea Noseda is the Director, but I guess Eschenbach still conducts sometimes.

here is the program: http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/NTCSB#tickets

Opened with Felix Mendelssohn's "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage" Overture. It's a nice piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8xGiX9utcE

That was followed by Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, with the young virtuoso Ray Chen. Here is a video from several years ago of Chen performing the same piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I03Hs6dwj7E

I'm not much into the violin as a solo instrument, but Miss Korea is, having played the violin in her youth. So I got to know this piece listening to it a bunch of times in the weeks leading up to the show.

Chen got a HUGE HUGE HUGE standing ovation following this piece.

Following intermission, the program closed with one of my favorites, Beethoven's 6th Symphony, the "Pastoral."

(My favorite version of the "Pastoral" is with Michele Merrill conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75OMvblyD-Q I like it cuz the first and third movements are fast, which I think is appropriate here.)

The Pastoral got a standard ovation. Eschenbach took his bows, walked off, back on, then walked off for good. Most shows I have been to, the conductor after the show walks off and on a good few times at the end. Here just the once off, on and back off. Maybe he was pissed off that Chen got a much bigger ovation than he did.

Two reviews of the show

https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/at-nso-familiarity-breeds-contentment/2018/10/11/cfd8fd72-cdca-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ba105d5002ff

http://washingtonclassicalreview.com/2018/10/11/chen-provides-the-sparks-in-safety-first-program-from-eschenbach-nso/



Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on October 22, 2018, 11:38:14 AM
Thanks for the comments and the links.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2018, 08:41:12 PM
Thanks for the comments and the links.

Pleasure.

It was pouring that night. We called an Uber, took a while for it to come. Almost everybody had gone home already, we were standing just about alone, when Chen came out the door, carrying his Stradivarius (in the case, of course). I knew Miss Korea would appreciate a picture; I pushed her to ask him, but she refused to, being somewhat shy. So after a few seconds of fruitlessly trying to push her to ask him, I finally walked up to Chen myself and asked if she could get a pic with him. I apologized for making him stand in the rain for those few extra seconds, but he was very friendly and polite, and he posed, so she got the pic with him :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on October 23, 2018, 10:49:45 AM
Pleasure.

It was pouring that night. We called an Uber, took a while for it to come. Almost everybody had gone home already, we were standing just about alone, when Chen came out the door, carrying his Stradivarius (in the case, of course). I knew Miss Korea would appreciate a picture; I pushed her to ask him, but she refused to, being somewhat shy. So after a few seconds of fruitlessly trying to push her to ask him, I finally walked up to Chen myself and asked if she could get a pic with him. I apologized for making him stand in the rain for those few extra seconds, but he was very friendly and polite and posed, so she got the pic with him :)
You did it wrong. You should have had her snap the pic of YOU and Chen. She doesn't ask, she doesn't get. And instead you would have had years of opportunity to rub it in: "This could have been you . . . "

Not that you'll have years together, anyway, she's going to be on to you very soon.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: noodles_leone on October 23, 2018, 10:52:32 AM

Not that you'll have years together, anyway, she's going to be on to you very soon.

You beat me to it.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on November 23, 2018, 02:44:27 PM
Recently went with Miss Korea to a Schubert/Beethoven show at Lincoln Center: Ivan Fischer guest-conducting the NY Philharmonic in Schubert's 5th symphony, a Schubert "lied" called "The Shepherd on the Rock," and Beethoven's 4th Symphony

https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/1819/beethoven-and-schubert (I was at the Saturday night show - sitting 4 rows from the back, but dead-center. Sound was good.)

Schubert's 5th a nice little piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfZlTGqtoO8

It uses a very small orchestra: flute, two bassoons, two oboes, two horns, and a small string section (e.g., just two basses).

"The Shepherd on the Rock" – the last piece Schubert wrote before his death at 31 – was written for piano, clarinet, and soprano, but at this concert, Fischer used an orchestration by Carl Reinecke from 1887 – it used the soprano and solo clarinet, but instead of the piano it had a full orchestra. In fact, it was even a bigger orchestra than the one used on the Schubert 5th Symphony – this one used two flutes, two oboes, a clarinet (besides the solo clarinet), two bassoons, four horns, and a larger string section (e.g., four basses).

The soprano was a Swede, Miah Persson; clarinet soloist was Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist for the NY Phil.

Beethoven's 4th Symphony used the biggest orchestration of all (e.g., six basses). The piece is sort of like a joke between the Eroica and the Fifth. The first movement starts with some slow sounds for about two minutes before erupting into a nice vigorous tune. Second movement is slow. The last two movements are like a comedy. This symphony is not very highly regarded, and for good reason IMO.

Maestro Fischer is amazing, as always. The show was enjoyable.

two reviews here

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/11/concert-review-ivan-fischer-new-york-philharmonic-exceptional/

https://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2018/11/concert-review-it-wouldnt-be-in-summer.html

Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 30, 2019, 11:30:43 AM
2020 is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. To celebrate, Carnegie Hall will have a season with lots of Beethoven shows, including (for the first time ever!) two complete cycles of his symphonies  :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

https://www.apnews.com/8e42f121b4e349179d43ff77742f5ec9

http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2019/01/carnegie-hall-to-fete-beethoven-at-250-in-the-2019-2020-season/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/30/arts/music/carnegie-hall-beethoven.html

***

Chicago Symphny Orchestra will also celebrate the Beethoven anniversary next season

https://news.wttw.com/2019/01/29/chicago-symphony-orchestra-2019-2020-season-celebrates-beethoven
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: Cusser on January 30, 2019, 06:56:18 PM
And re-watch "A Clockwork Orange" !!!
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 02, 2019, 11:00:17 PM
The other night I was at Carnegie Hall for “Beethoven for the Rohingya,” a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth, in a benefit concert for the Rohingya.

https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2019/01/28/Beethoven-for-The-Rohingya-A-Concert-For-the-Rohingya-Refugees-0800PM

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority (mostly Muslim, a minority Hindu) in Myanmar who have faced massive persecution by the Myanmar military government, particularly with a recent wave of human-rights abuses beginning in 2016.
More than 600,000 have crossed the border into Bangladesh since 2017; they are living in refugee camps. More info here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Rohingya_persecution_in_Myanmar

The event was presented by Music for Life International, an organization that seeks to “to create transformative social impact through music for the most vulnerable of our fellow human beings.”
http://www.music4lifeinternational.org/Music_for_Life_International/Home.html


Net proceeds from the concert went to Doctors Without Borders (also known by its French acronym MSF, [Medecins Sans Frontieres]) assisting the Rohingya.

The orchestra was comprised of artists from around 80 orchestras/ensembles/institutions from around the world – including the NY Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra – all of whom were performing for free for this charitable event.

The first piece played was a piece called “Elegy” by 88-year-old American composer David Amram, conducted by Amram himself. (The piece premiered in 1971.) It is a piece for solo violin and orchestra. The solo violinist was Elmira Darvarova; she served as concertmaster (principal first violinist) for Beethoven’s Ninth.


There were several brief speeches during the evening - from the president of MSF, an official from Music for Life International, Amram and George Mathew (more about him below). By far the most moving was a speech by a Rohingya man, who managed to escape Myanmar several decades ago and is now a U.S. citizens, but still has many family members living in danger and oppression in Myanmar. A letter was also read out loud from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Several of the speakers made mention about being welcoming immigrants/refugees, no doubt a nod to a fierce political debate going on in America. But the event was mostly non-political.

Beethoven’s Ninth was conducted by George Mathew, a Singapore-born Indian conductor who founded Music for Life International and Ubuntu-Shruti Orchestra. Mathew has conducted many benefit concerts for various charitable causes. Since 2006, Mathew has conducted eight charitable concerts at Carnegie Hall alone.

For Beethoven’s Ninth, the choir was Montclair State University Chorale. Indra Thomas was soprano, Sarah Heltzel mezzo-soprano, Sean Panikkar tenor, and Soloman Howard bass.

I went with a friend (it was her first ever symphony – pretty awesome to have Beethoven’s Ninth as her first show!) We had amazing seats – 11 rows back, dead center. We had a great time.

Mathew placed the basses (I think there were 10!) on the far right wall; two were at the lip of the stage, two more on their right, etc., two abreast five rows deep. So the basses started right up front at the stage – and I found it quite distracting how you could hear the bass strings vibrating against the neck, rather than just hearing the “boom boom” sound of the bass. I am not very knowledgeable on classical music, but I have never heard this before. I don’t know if one of the musicians was screwing up, or if this is just because the basses were up front (they’re often by the back wall).

Something really funny happened: During the second movement, Mathew’s baton went flying out of his hand and into the second row of seats! I guess conductors don’t have extra batons lying around, because he conducted the rest of the show with his hands. (Not a big deal – many conductors don’t use batons.) After the show, one of the staff came over to get the baton; he let me hold it and take a selfie! It had a cork handle.

The ovation was long and loud; during the ovation, Mathew spoke again briefly and urged everyone to do something for this important cause.
I took a video of the ovation and speech here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA2FHVPenW0&feature=youtu.be
This show, with the diverse array of musicians, was neat. I noticed at least one group of
musicians – the bassists – taking selfies and group pics together. After the show, some of the musicians were taking selfies with audience members at
the lip of the stage, or coming down off the stage to do so.

Great show for a great cause!

Donations can be made at http://www.music4lifeinternational.org/Music_for_Life_International/Donate.html
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 07, 2019, 06:27:31 PM
New York Philharmonic and  just released the 2019-2020 season schedule

https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/explore/1920/season-highlights


Lincoln Center's "Great Performers" schedule was also released for 2019-2020

http://lincolncenter.org/great-performers/subscribe#symphonic-masters-1
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 01, 2019, 10:06:46 PM
I went with a friend last Tuesday to Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, conducted by, Jaap Van Zweden, a Dutchman completing his first season as the orchestra's musical director.

https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/1819/beethoven-eroica

The show opened with a Shostakovich chamber symphony https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_Quartet_No._8_(Shostakovich)

He originally wrote the piece for a string quartet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41HIXtBElH4

but Rudolf Barshai later arranged it for chamber symphony; this is the video I watched a bunch of times to get to know the piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lkYPD_4O3M

(The quartet is known as Op. 110, and the chamber symphony version as Op. 110a).

The NY Phil version used a much larger orchestra than the one you see in the link above. It was a full-sized orchestra string section. Jaap conducted it more slowly than the version you see in that video.


The headlining piece was Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, known as the Eroica.

Here is a 1966 audio recording of Bernstein playing it with the NY Phil; I've listened to this a million times https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBZzjy8vzMM&list=PLbcerJq8u6IdB4Nac8WMz1dSU1slkGUN-

and here is a great 14-minute audio clip of Bernstein discussing the very famous first movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym1KjscMCLw&list=PLbcerJq8u6IdB4Nac8WMz1dSU1slkGUN-&index=5

The string section for the Eroica was even larger than that used for the Shostakovich piece. Jaap conducted the opening movement of the Eroica at a quick tempo. I liked that  :)

I had great seats - Row U, dead center. I'm not a big fan of that Shostakovich piece; the Eroica's first movement is very famous and good, but the last 3 movements are not particularly good. I don't think I'll go again to that piece. But hey, it's always nice to go to Lincoln Center  :)

This show was played four times over a period of a week; I attended the final showing. Here are reviews following the first showing


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/23/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic-review.html

http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2019/05/lack-of-fire-makes-for-objective-start-to-philharmonics-music-of-conscience-series/

https://super-conductor.blogspot.com/2019/05/concert-review-music-of-easy-conscience.html

http://www.classicalsource.com/db_control/db_concert_review.php?id=16491
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 02, 2019, 02:29:24 PM
$550 million renovation coming to Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall

it'll mean a reduction of over 500 seats, more expensive tickets, and hopefully better acoustics

https://apnews.com/3237d8fd219344f5bbc288818db9c085

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NY-Philharmonic-Concert-Hall-to-Cut-500-Seats-in-Major-550-Million-Renovation-565689862.html

https://gothamist.com/arts-entertainment/lincoln-center-and-ny-philharmonic-announce-550-million-geffen-hall-renovation
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 03, 2019, 11:26:20 PM
$550 million renovation coming to Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall

it'll mean a reduction of over 500 seats, more expensive tickets, and hopefully better acoustics

https://apnews.com/3237d8fd219344f5bbc288818db9c085

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NY-Philharmonic-Concert-Hall-to-Cut-500-Seats-in-Major-550-Million-Renovation-565689862.html

https://gothamist.com/arts-entertainment/lincoln-center-and-ny-philharmonic-announce-550-million-geffen-hall-renovation

info from Lincoln Center website here https://workinginconcert.info/?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mkt_20191202_dgh_gp_js&utm_content=version_A&source=33279

Scroll to middle of page for images
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 07, 2020, 10:22:23 PM
I forgot to post it here

I went with Miss Korea to the December 5 show at Lincoln Center https://nyphil.org/concerts-tickets/1920/bronfman-and-beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 4 is a great piece  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on January 08, 2020, 05:40:58 AM
Shouldn't the title of this thread now be "D&D and Miss Korea Go to the Symphony"?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 08, 2020, 08:51:12 AM
Shouldn't the title of this thread now be "D&D and Miss Korea Go to the Symphony"?


Well ever since you met Miss (now Mrs.) Japan, I haven't seen much of you  ;)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on January 08, 2020, 09:18:46 AM

Well ever since you met Miss (now Mrs.) Japan, I haven’t seen much of you  ;)
And that's unlikely to change. Sorry. But that's why I'm suggesting you update the title.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: noodles_leone on January 08, 2020, 10:18:44 AM
And that's unlikely to change. Sorry. But that's why I'm suggesting you update the title.

Do you feel betrayed?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: cigar joe on January 08, 2020, 12:49:04 PM
Do you feel betrayed?

Lol
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 06, 2020, 02:52:35 AM
I was at Carnegie Hall the other night. Neither Miss Korea nor DJ could go, so I went with another friend. Call her Miss Upper East Side.

2020 is Beethoven's 250th birthday, and there are celebrations all around the world. Carnegie Hall is no exception, doing two full cycles of Beethoven's symphonies (as well as some sonatas and other pieces).

The first cycle is by Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, which plays classical music on period instruments.

I attended the final show of that cycle, Beethoven's Eighth and Ninth.

https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2020/02/24/Orchestre-Revolutionnaire-et-Romantique-0800PM

This show was broadcast live over the radio on New York classical station WQXR, livestreamed online, and you can listen to the recording at

https://www.wqxr.org/story/listen-beethoven-john-eliot-gardiner-carnegie-hall-orchestre-revolutionnaire-et-romantique/

Our seats were in the very top tier, halfway up, but straight on center, and I had a great time. It was my first time ever in a balcony, so I finally got to actually see a full stage, front to back, seeing not only the conductor and the strings but also the winds and choir in back of the stage. The sound was awesome (maybe because I was close to the ceiling?) of course, Carnegis famous for great acoustics.

If you listen to the discussion by the radio hosts, they discuss how this show differs from a typical show, the differences in period instruments, which are more difficult to play and keep in tune.

In fact, between each movement of the 9th symphony, the orchestra re-tuned between movements, which I can't ever recall seeing before.

Gardiner conducts these symphonies quite quickly.

Gardiner arranges the first and second violins on opposing sides; the cellos and violas are in middle.

For the fourth movement of the Ninth, he had the violins and violas stand for the entire movement.


The show featured soloists Lucy Crowe, Soprano; Jess Dandy, Contralto; Ed Lyon, Tenor; Matthew Rose, Bass; and the Monteverdi Choir.

Gardiner had the soloists stand off to the left side. But during the tenor solo, Lyon walked into the center.



Here is a review of the show that is quite harsh, except on the Ode to Joy https://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2020/02/after-a-shaky-eighth-and-ninth-a-triumphant-choral-coda-closes-gardiners-beethoven-week/
Note below the review is a comment by someone who says the reviewer seems to not understand how different the period instruments are.

Here is a positive review of the entire cycle https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/arts/music/beethoven-carnegie-hall.html

This is definitely a different sound than other orchestras, and intentionally so. This is supposedly how audiences at the time would have heard these pieces. The WQXR recording is very nice, listen if you get a chance. If you aren't interested in listening to the full show, just skip to the 1:00:09 mark and listen to the opening of the Ninth, for a minute; you'll already hear how fast Gardiner is conducting and how different this orchestra sounds. If you want to skip to the fourth movement, it's at 1:41:25



When the Ninth ended, the entire crowd was on its feet. Ovations were many, long, and loud.

This was a very memorable night.


***

The next full cycle at Cernegie Hall of the Beethoven symphonies (not on period instruments!) will be The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick N?zet-S?guin, starting March 13 with the 5th and 6th. I won't be able to make it to any of those shows due to scheduling issues. But the March 13 show will also be streamed live at https://www.wqxr.org/shows/carnegie/about/ and a few days after the livestream, the recording will be available.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on March 06, 2020, 05:44:54 AM
I was at Carnegie Hall the other night. Neither Miss Korea nor DJ could go, so I went with another friend. Call her Miss Upper East Side.
I her Upper East Side worth viewing?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 06, 2020, 11:58:47 AM
I her Upper East Side worth viewing?

Don't get excited. Nuthin happenin, nuthin worh happenin. Just a friend.

You know, the kind who gets drunk and hooks up, and the next morning swears she'll never do it again. That's what happened the first time we met  ;) This time we just had tea and went to the symphony  :)
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 23, 2020, 10:25:29 PM
The NY Philharmonic has announced that it is canceling all shows through June 13.

To keep y'all entertained during your quarantine, the NY Phil is making available a free video and audio online archive, called "NY Phil Plays On"
https://nyphil.org/playson
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: titoli on March 23, 2020, 10:42:53 PM
The NY Philharmonic has announced that it is canceling all shows through June 13.



That was before Tschump said that in a couple of weeks everything will be back to normal, I guess.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 18, 2021, 03:36:09 PM
Carnegie Hall will miss an entire season for the first time for the first time in its 130-year history

https://apnews.com/article/new-york-theater-coronavirus-pandemic-new-york-city-8149b820a73f2f6725da31545a1842e2
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 15, 2021, 01:19:13 PM
NY Philharmonic gives 1st concert with audience in 13 months

https://apnews.com/article/new-york-esa-pekka-salonen-performing-arts-coronavirus-pandemic-concerts-819ec65c1725794fb34e90c668eb6faa

Even audience members who had been vaccinated had to wear masks. This is ridiculous.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 12, 2021, 11:39:11 AM
Poignant return for Met Opera after lengthy pandemic pause

https://apnews.com/article/entertainment-music-health-arts-and-entertainment-concerts-84a4279892f98d22255e419e7fa35b29
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 12, 2021, 11:40:13 AM
Carnegie Hall is having a full cycle of Beethoven's symphonies with the Philadelphia Orchestra (making up for the series in 2020 that was canceled due to Covid).

You in, DJ?
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 07, 2021, 08:25:10 AM
The symphony is back, babbbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!

After 572 days in the dark, Carnegie Hall returned last night! Was great to be there. (Proof of vaccine required, as are masks. Of course, I just wore my mask on my chin, if at all.)

It was a very exciting night for Miss Baltimore: her first-ever symphony. (Yeah, I give my girls class  ;) )

https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2021/10/06/Carnegie-Halls-Opening-Night-Gala-The-Philadelphia-Orchestra-0700PM

The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Yannick N?zet-S?guin, will be doing a full cycle of Beethoven's symphonies (they were scheduled to do so in 2020 as part of Beethoven's 250th anniversary celebration, before Covid shut things down.) Last night's opening night gala featured the Fifth Symphony.

Other pieces played last night:
VALERIE COLEMAN Seven O'Clock Shout, a piece honoring frontline workers
SHOSTAKOVICH Piano Concerto No. 2, with Yuja Wang
BERNSTEIN Overture to Candide, a nice little 5-minute piece
MAN HABIBI Jeder Baum spricht - a fucking bullshit piece about global warming. When everyone cheered, I booed.

--

The event was livestreamed, and the full event video is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c-cqmQueUo


Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on October 07, 2021, 10:38:02 AM
(Yeah, I give my girls class  ;) )
Uh huh. "Lipstick on a pig," and all that.
Quote
When everyone cheered, I booed.
Having attended live gigs with you, I know you're telling the truth.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 07, 2021, 09:43:12 PM
Forgot to mention: There was no intermission. I think they do that because of Covid, so people don?t mingle. (They also have a specific door entrance and entry time on each ticket so that people don?t all arrive together. Not sure how much that is enforced.) I had to piss after the first piece, while they were changing the instruments before the second. The usher told me, ?This is not an intermission. You can leave, but if the lights go down before you get back, you won?t be allowed in for this piece.? I ran down the two flights from the balcony to the third-floor bathroom and made it back.

I love the balcony at Carnegie Hall. It overhangs the lower tiers, I get seats dead-center, you can see the entire orchestra, unlike when you are on the floor.

Next show for me: October 20, Beethoven?s 4th Symphony and 6th Symphony (Pastorale).
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 07, 2021, 09:55:21 PM
Having attended live gigs with you, I know you're telling the truth.

Remember when we saw that awful play The Maids and afterward the idiot audience applauded? I booed louder than all the applause  ;D
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 20, 2021, 11:39:01 AM


(My favorite version of the "Pastoral" is with Michele Merrill conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75OMvblyD-Q I like it cuz the first and third movements are fast, which I think is appropriate here.)



That link is no longer available on YouTube, but the show can be viewed on the DSO's website for free; you need to make a free account

https://livefromorchestrahall.vhx.tv/10-years-of-live-from-orchestra-hall-concerts-from-the-archives/videos/ludwig-van-beethoven-symphony-no-6-in-f-major-op-68-pastoral

I'm watching the Pastoral again now cuz I'm gearing up for the show tonight at Carnegie Hall (DJ ditching me yet again)

https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2021/10/20/The-Philadelphia-Orchestra-0800PM
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: dave jenkins on October 20, 2021, 05:53:35 PM
(DJ ditching me yet again)
Matinees, man! I can only do matinees.
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 22, 2021, 08:57:14 AM
Bernard Haitink, renowned Dutch conductor, dies at 92

https://apnews.com/article/entertainment-music-europe-london-netherlands-499a2e7f880fc99bf3a208d1d0bee77f
Title: Re: DJ and D&D Go to the Symphony
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 24, 2021, 07:38:20 PM

I'm watching the Pastoral again now cuz I'm gearing up for the show tonight at Carnegie Hall (DJ ditching me yet again)

https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2021/10/20/The-Philadelphia-Orchestra-0800PM

So Matinee Dave ditched me again Wednesday night as expected; I instead went to Carnegie Hall with Miss Upper West Side (#JustAFriend).

Fucking Carnegie Hall makes you show proof of vaccination AND wear a mask. I did the former, I absolutely did not do the latter, to the chagrin of the lame-asses who sat near me. I took double the pleasure in making the losers squirm.

Also, due to Covid, there's no intermission. I think they don;'t want people congregating. Don't drink before the show. Cuz you ain't pissing till it's over.

We sat three rows from the front of the balcony, dead center. Lately I am really enjoying Carnegie Hall balcony (the very top level - Level #5). The balcony overhangs the other levels, so if you get one of the front rows of the balcony you actually are not that far back, and you can see the entire orchestra. When I always used to sit in the floor, I could never see the wind instruments. Only problem is there ain't much leg room in the balcony.

The program was Beethoven's 4th & 6th Symphonies with The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick N?zet-S?guin continuing its program of  afull cycle of Beethoven's symphonies, in a belated 250th birthday (which was actually in 2020, postponed due to Covid).
The 4th isn't on any list of greatest symphonies, I always thought it was kind of jokey and was never much into it, but to tell the truth, it wasn't a terrible opener. I was able to enjoy it.

At the previous show, as I mentioned, Yannick had to play some piece about global fucking warming, supposedly inspired by Beethoven, and gave this speech about how we play Beethoven but we also gotta play the contemporaries with their social justice shit. The show last week was  (gasp!) only Beethoven, but Yannick had to take the microphone and speak apologetically about only playing Beethoven and assure us that he would in fact play other pieces at future Beethoven shows, and assure us that the Pastoral was in fact about social justice. I made my displeasure with his speech plainly known to everyone in my section. Now Miss Upper West Side was squirming.

Anyway, we finally got to the Pastoral, and it's one of the greatest versions I've ever heard. Particularly, I like the third movement played very quickly; and I think this was the quickest I'd heard it. It was an amazing performance.

Oh, I gotta mention something else about Yannick: He walks onto the stage with a mask. Takes it off for the show. Then puts it back on as he walks off the stage. Then comes back on for his standing ovation, and takes it back off. So I guess he can't catch Covid while on stage, but can catch it while walking off and standing backstage? Oh, and half the string section was wearing masks. Of course, we all know you can give someone Covid while playing the violin but not blowing the oboe.

Anyway, nevermind the he conducts in leggings, does weird shit with masks, and most infuriatingly has to turn Beethoven into some sort of social justice warrior. When he's actually just conducting the orchestra, he's actually terrific. Another great show!

Next up, November 9: Beethoven's 8th & 7th Symphonies (of course, with some contemporary piece sandwiched in middle. (We already had the global warming piece, so I guess this is probably about transphobia or affirmative action or why everyone should wear masks for the rest of their lives.)

DJ and I once went to the 7th & 8th a few years ago in Lincoln Center. Like most people, DJ prefers the 7th. It's really famous and popular. The 8th is Beethoven's shortest symphony and not nearly as famous. I am in the minority: I'm actually going because of the 8th. I really like it. I have little use for the 7th.

So what'll it be, Matinee Dave? You in for a night show this time or out again?