Saturday, October 28, 2006
Symphony - amateur review
Darren and I have season tickets to the Fort Worth Symphony. Since it's paid for ahead of time, it's like getting a free date once a month - a date for which I'm required to dress up and apply make-up. The symphony always performs at Bass Performance Hall, which is an event in and of itself, so beautiful is its architecture and so inviting its aesthetic. Dani and Brian attended a production of Romeo and Juliet this past week. I forced them to smile for the camera because I want to document Dani's first official date at Bass Hall. (Actually, Brittani took the photo!)
I'm not much of a fan of classical music. I'd much rather take in a Pink Floyd laser light show than a concerto or a symphony. Strings annoy me. I prefer bass. Even so, I enjoy the Symphony, because Darren is in his element there. Some of the most wonderful naps I've ever had were on his shoulder, in a cushy seat beneath the trompe l'oeil ceiling, with classical music droning on in the background. Last month, Darren had to nudge me awake when I moaned in my sleep!
My favorite part of each month's concert, besides our conductor, The Debonair and Gorgeously-accented Miguel Harth-Bedoya, on whom I have an enormous crush, is The Star-Spangled Banner. (Tonight, much to my dismay, we had a guest conductor. I do. not. like. guest. conductors.) As soon as the conductor takes the stage, he bows to the audience, then turns to the musicians and, as the audience stands and faces the flag, launches into the anthem. I sing. Always. I can't hear our national anthem and not sing. And I sing loudly. There's a reason for that. When I'm singing alone (and yes, I sing the Star-Spangled Banner alone), I start it real, real low so that I comfortably hit the notes at the end. At the Symphony, the song is in its intended key, and I can't hit the notes unless I'm belting them out. It's not embarassing, though, because everyone AROUND me is singing (symphony patrons are like that). I. Love. To. Sing. That. Song. Tonight, I got about 4 measures in, then stopped singing. Sitting directly behind me was a baritone. His voice SOARED. It filled the whole space of the Lower Gallery. I kept waiting for people below us to turn and look up to see from where that voice came. It was beautiful. I usually get teary-eyed singing that song, but tonight, as I listened, I heard the music more than the words, and I didn't cry. It took every ounce of willpower in me, though, to keep from turning around and gaping at him. BEAUTIFUL.
I was completely prepared to hate the first piece, Vaughn Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis", because it's written for strings alone. YAWN. Oh, but I was wrong! It was wonderful! I was mesmerized. Truly, I sat on the edge of my seat and watched the orchestra play. It's a piece I would actually consider buying and listening to at home, and maybe I SHOULD, because I designed two scrapbook layouts in my head while I listened. It was that inspiring. Darren was more surprised than I was when I actually clapped at the end.
The next piece, a 20th century work by John Corigliano, sounded like angry traffic and wailing sirens to me. UGH. It featured a classical guitarist, and I had been looking forward to hearing him. But the background noise, er, music, ruined it for me. Afterward, while standing in the ladies' room line during intermission, the hall was abuzz with commentary. "It was... strange." "It sounded like every instrument was off key." "I don't even think they were playing the same music!" In internet message board speak, a thread killer is someone who posts their two cents on a subject that's been started, and no one replies after that. Well, tonight in the ladies' room, I "killed the thread". Because after I added my comment, "It was kinda like abstract art, only in music form", no one said another word about it. *oh.*
Finally, the last piece of the night was performed: Brahms' Symphony No.2 in DMajor, Op. 73. It was pretty, it was happy, but it was tooooo long. I could've slept, but instead, I tried to be a grown-up and stay awake. Besides. The shrimp I ate at dinner was causing me some distress, and I needed to be awake to make sure I didn't conduct a symphony of my own. Ahem.