Monday, October 09, 2006

Opening Evening

Saturday was a easy one: return from Manhattan after a yummy and healthy breakfast on the upper west side (an organic yogurt and granola parfait) on the train. Then some clothes shopping and dinner in Harrisburg (the specials were amazing at Cafe Fresco.)
I came back for the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra concert - and overall I'm glad I did. They played Beethoven's Leonore Overture #3 in good style. Sure there were soem opening night jitters from teh horn section, but overall it was a good reading.
Next was William (Billy) Joel's Symphonic Fantasties for Piano and Orchestra (dubbed his Piano Concerto by many) with soloist Jeffery Biegel. I hadn't heard his playing before, at least not live, and he was quite impressive. The piece however, was not for me at all; in fact, I'd just as soon hear Joel's pop melodies than the arrangements from his classical attempts. But the performance was good if the form and melodies are not. Orchestration attempted some tributes to Brahms and Rachmaninoff, but to compare the work to either composer would be an insult to both Brahms and Rachmaninoff. It is what it is, and just not my cup of tea. I was quite glad that Biegel played an encore, another chance to hear him play. (Afterwards I was at a loss what to say to him, other than I enjoyed his playing - I often don't lack words but in this incident I did...)
The second half was an old friend, Dvorak's Eighth Symphony. I can't tell you how many times I've played or heard this work - enough times to lose count over and over! Saturday night's reading was fresh and full of energy. I shared with Stuart Malina that I heard new things and I did, especially in the inner movements. I left the evening feeling uplifted and satisfied - a great start to the HSO season - kudos!
(you can read my friend Dick's blog about the evening here, and my friend Stuart's impressions here.)

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