St. Louis likes to pride itself on having the best fans in baseball, and last night our city showed itself to have the best classical music fans in show business, in the same sense.
Give me Shea Stadium (R.I.P.) 10,000 times out of 10,000 times for undeceived insight into every flaw in a game of baseball as it unfolds, while Busch Stadium is Ground Zero for unwavering support (bordering on cow-eyed adoration).
Likewise, at any number of venues in New York City, you can watch a sea of faces wince when the french horn comes in slightly off-note or a section is minutely unresponsive to the conductor's sense of dynamics, but on a good night at Powell Symphony Hall, one can bask in the arms of an audience that knows how well we have it.
Last night we had it good, with The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra - often, we had it great. And we knew it.
The highlight of the program, for me, probably was not Yefim Bronfam's featured performance on Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor - I enjoyed more the sneaky sequencing of it after John Adam's Guide to Strange Places by musical director David Robertson, which revealed Rach 3 as the soundtrack to a great chase film that I guess it always was.
But the people would not sit down for "Fima," as we are told his colleagues know him. I quit counting the curtain calls. Even from my seat in the nosebleeds (where the sound is sublime), I could see David electrified for his hometown audience to be showing this much support for a strong performance of a classic piece of music.
John Adams - the composer was a surprise guest, on opening night!- got almost as much love. There was a lot to love about this program. It was one of those nights that made me think St. Louis will get to keep David Robertson.
They do it all again tonight - tickets available!
The rude sketch of Fima from the nosebleeds is mine. I forgot to go get him to autograph it during intermission. Duh!