Here's a quick appeal to folks with a flexible schedule (or shift workers with weekday mornings to themselves) to set aside some time for the Friday morning concert series in the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra's 2008-2009 season. The band hits at 10:30 a.m. on select Fridays and sends us back into our ordinary lives not long after noon.
Last season, I attended most of these Friday morning concerts, and those were the best days I lived last year, to have that sort of elevated experience of music before noon during the week. The donut sponsor didn't suck, either. The best band in town, the programming genius of David Robertson, the comfortable confines of Powell Symphony Hall - with free java and glazed between sets.
Where do you sign up? At the Powell Box Office or online, of course. If you just show up a little early on Friday, they'll be able to sell you just about any seat in the house.
What are we in for this Friday? David Robertson conducting the orchestra and featured percussionist Colin Currie in a program titled, with a whimsical personal touch, "Currie X 3" to indicate that the featured artist will be cut loose on three different pieces for the three performances of the program:
* STEVEN MACKEY Time Release (Friday only)
* HK GRUBER Rough Music (U.S. Premiere) (Saturday only)
* CHRISTOPHER ROUSE Der gerettete Alberich (Sunday only).
All three concerts begin and end, respectively, with:
* MOZART The Abduction from the Seraglio Overture (a white slavery story set in Turkey)
* BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7 (a war memorial that Wagner described as "The Apotheosis of the Dance").
Currie was full of love for David Robertson in a phoner he did with SLSO publications man Eddie Silva, who was himself taken by the drummer lad's "soft Scottish brogue".
Currie said, “Robertson is a hero of mine. When I play with him I feel totally unfettered. I feel able to play better than I can. He not only has a great technical mastery and a deep knowledge of the repertoire, but with David making music is fun. He has a real enjoyment and love of what’s happening on stage.”
He also made me want to see the Steven Mackey marimba concerto that is on the bill for Friday and Friday only. Currie gave the work its Carnegie Hall premiere with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra last season.
Currie told Silva: "Steve Mackey’s music can be quite whacky. ‘Whacky Mackey.' But I told him I like his more reflective moments. He was drawn to write a big marimba concerto, and the second movement is very playful—where you get the whacky, the unpredictable — but in the end the piece is very tuneful, very reflective.”
And,with David Robertson wielding the baton, fun.
My rude sketch of David leading the band is from opening night last Friday.