18. January 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Dan and I went to the Symphony Silicon Valley chamber music concert last night. It was such fun … and how great to hear the Stravinsky Octet, a work that I heard a whole heck of a lot back in the ancient days when Dan and I were dating and then early in our marriage (that’s the 70’s, folks. Dan was on a Stravinsky kick and got me on one too! From what he said last night he still listens to this work frequently. I had been neglecting it. Shame on me.). Of course it has no oboe or English horn, but I have forgiven Stravinsky for that error. Hearing a group of five play Till Eulenspiegel was wonderful … and it worked! Of course I heard the rest of the orchestra in my head. I wonder if everyone who knows the symphonic work did as well. But I loved this chamber version. Also on the program was the Bax Oboe Quintet (go Pam!), and the Dvorak Piano Quintet. I had never heard the Dvorak before and I really loved it. (The pianist, Stephen Prutsman, will be with us for the remainder of the week, playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22. Also on this weekend’s program is Mozart’s Adagio & Fugue in C minor (no oboes in either Mozart work, believe it or not) and then we end the concert with Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. Hope some of you can make it!)

It’s really enjoyable to go to the hall I normally perform in and listen to my colleagues. I didn’t get nervous. I didn’t worry about reeds. And I certainly enjoyed everyone’s playing! The bassoons were especially fabulous (the Stravinsky is really something for them … kudos to Debbie Kramer and Carolyn Lockhart!), but everyone did a very fine job. For the first half I sat down below and then I moved up into the balcony. I enjoyed being upstairs more … I think I hear better, but it could just be that I see better which allows me to hear? I wonder! The concert wasn’t without it’s problems; someone spoke very loudly during the Stravinsky (heard later that it was an usher. Hmm.), a door slammed loudly right after the talking, and then something was beeping—actually it sort of sounded like a kazoo-ish thing—during Pam’s work, and there were several people who felt the need to unwrap their cough drops during quiet moments. Guess that’s live music for you!

I don’t do reviews or critiques of colleagues, of course, but I guess if I were to say one negative I wish that the musicians weren’t quite as formal … the men wore tails. I dunno. A Tuesday night chamber music concert? I’m thinkin’ maybe black pants and colorful shirts. But what the heck do I know? (And silly me to even say this since I’m the first one who chooses to wear all black rather than have to THINK about something else to wear!)

The wonderful thing about a chamber music concert that involves symphony musicians is that the performers become individuals to the audience. I’m hoping that we do more of these, and that it can pull in more than the 300 or so audience members who attended. I also wouldn’t be at all opposed to a bit of yakking about the works. I think the audience would be interested to hear about them straight from the players. Oh the things we could tell you about the things we play! I want signs that we can hold up. I’d like one that reads, “This is so darn hard and sounds so darn easy and you don’t know how freaked out I am!” and another that says, “Well, okay, this sounds hard but it’s a breeze. Cool, huh?” And maybe another that says, “Right now I’m so nervous about my next entrance I want to run off stage.” And especially, “This is so stunningly beautiful that you all should be weeping right now so please go ahead and do so!” Oh … and maybe an, “Oops. I’m sorry. I wish we had “do-overs” but we don’t.”

I suppose, though, that my signs would ruin it for some folks. So maybe no one else will go for the idea. I’ll just have to have my own little concert someday where I have signs. Really. I’m sure one of you out there can think of a clever little name for a sign concert …?
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