Saturday, March 28, 2009

SLSO Blogger's Night II: an adventure with friends

Some doodles and thoughts about the first half of last night's program performed by The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, under the musical direction of David Robertson.

The performance of Good Friday Music from Parsifal by Wagner sent me into a long gauzy daydream during which I could hardly lift my pen. I didn't sketch. I didn't want to break the wholeness of the experience by concentrating on any one part of it.

Finally, after the piece was finished, I wrote,

a book of big days
a long lumunous connection
to a harmony of soul
"A book of days" is a title in my head for a collection of imagistic poems, culled from days when I went on some elaborate adventure with other people and kept notes. The evolution of this performance of that piece of music felt like that. It's just about as good as I am able to feel.

If the Wagner felt like living in a fable with trusted and adventurous friends, the Zimmerman Canto di speranza felt more like being on a gig, in an avante chamber setting.

One lady said, "Hmmmmm" at it, right in the middle of the piece, far loudly than people ever exclaim anything during performance at Powell Symphony Hall.

I really think she was just that sharply struck with spontaneous delight: similar effect, in terms of involuntary response, if you had dropped a sharp object onto her foot secretly in the dark.

I started to prowl around in Paul Schiavo's ever smart and tartly written program notes. I liked his description of the "pointillist textures", that summed it up.

After the band wrapped up the pointillist tune, I turned to my date for the show, the poet K. Curtis Lyle, and said, "That was smoking great."

Then a great soprano strode to the stage and sang "Luonnotar" by Sibelius. A drop screen followed the vocal in English, which I appreciated. Here was one good line:

a life
I relished the fact that for this program the orchestra had so much playing on my favorite color instruments (oboes, bassoons, harps), often in relatively intimate musical settings. Another adventure among friends.

A young-sounding man behind me had his own thoughts about a favorite instrument in the band tonight. "How often does the bongo guy get to play?" he wanted to know.

Then, after the beautiful music, the awful arhythmic percussion of our applause.


Notes and sketches to be continued, with the second half of the program. Also, the band hits the same program again 3 p.m. Sunday, then takes the show on the road to Carnegie Hall.


This piece was written for Eddie Silva and The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Publications Department as part of its online media effort, "Blogger's Night II."


Tony Renner said...

Did you get to hear any of the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Wagner's Das Rheingold on KFUO today?

I heard about 45 minutes while I was driving to and from my studio and while I was putting gesso on a big sheet of cardboard.

I'm not sure what was going on but it sure sounded great!

Confluence City said...

I listen to Cds or KDHX in the car and KUSC online for my classical and 20c music fix, so ... no.