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Wolf and Songdog do the Symphony, Part 5

Wolf came up on Thursday (animist, in case you're wondering where he is, he's in Detroit) in a huge thunderstorm, just so we could go see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra last night. We're very interested in what the orchestra is up to this year, since Neeme Järvi has become music director emeritus and the search has started for a new music director. I think I can speak for Wolf in saying that last night's conductor, Hugh Wolff, could be The One, as far as we're concerned. It was a very good performance. The program:

Samuel Barber, Overture for A School for Scandal
Wolf said it sounded exactly like Järvi's recording with the DSO in the early 90s. This is a pretty good thing since it's the same orchestra. I thought it was an auspicious beginning for the concert.
Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1, Jon Kimura Parker, Pianist
Wow. When it was composed, it was called "unplayable and vulgar". It's anything but, especially under Parker's hands. What a workout, though. Impressive.
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5
Double wow. There are two ways to play the final movement: as Leonard Bernstein did, super-fast and almost triumphant, or as written, which makes it more of an angry thing. Wolff wisely chose the original path, and left me wide-eyed at the end. Wolf was all verklempt.

It was a very fine concert, possibly the best we've seen out of the five we've been to at Orchestra Hall.

Sidebar: This coming weekend, September 30-October 1, Orchestra Hall is hosting the Marshall Field's Day of Music. There are over three dozen concerts and other music-related events in many genres. Among the artists performing will be the one and only Jere Stormer (Xhedos Cafe's Wednesday night open mic host, among many other things) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the east lobby of the Max M. Fisher Music Center. There's also a "DSO Idol" show; Wolf and I are a little afraid of what that is. But it's all for a good cause: Music.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful concert. Despite all the years I spent living in the Windsor area and going to concerts with my parents, I only remember seeing the DSO twice. Once with Isaac Stern performing the Beethoven concerto. The other time was at the orchestra summer venue (can't remember its name); I believe the guests were Bob Hope and Jack Benny, but I might be wrong.
Sep. 26th, 2005 08:57 pm (UTC)
Seeing Isaac Stern would've been great, I would think. The concert with Bob Hope and Jack Benny sounds like it would've been a long time ago, but possible. A lot of the DSO summer concerts are at Meadowbrook these days, and I think they've been there for a long time.

Orchestra Hall was renovated in the early 1990s and it's stunning. There isn't a bad seat in the house as far as acoustics go. Before the orchestra moved back to Orchestra Hall, concerts were played at Ford Auditorium on the riverfront, which acoustically is lacking greatly by comparison.
Sep. 26th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC)
Meadowbrook it was. The concert was probably a couple of years before Jack Benny died, in the early 70s. We saw Isaac Stern in my mid to late teens, probably about 1981. I don't remember which venue, but I suppose Orchestra Hall in its earlier state.
Sep. 25th, 2005 11:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a great weekend and a great concert! It's raining here - tell Wolf to be careful driving back.
Sep. 26th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC)
I will. He decided to stay over another day to avoid driving in the heavy rain they were forecasting. The Weather Channel's maps had rain pretty much from Sault Ste. Marie to Mobile in a solid green blob on the map.
Sep. 26th, 2005 12:04 pm (UTC)
Nice program. Wish I could have been there to hear it. :)
Sep. 26th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
It was well-done, for sure. Probably the right mix of warhorse and not-so-common in the program.
Sep. 26th, 2005 10:06 pm (UTC)
The Tschaikowsky is a warhorse for sure. The Shostakovich is more like a whole herd of wild ponies, but fun. And I generally like Samuel Barber. Back when I was a student, he was considered modern and unpleasant by most, but I think he has aged well. After all, when Stravinsky's Rite of Spring was first performed it was considered so awful that people got into fist fights in the auditorium, but today it too is a warhorse. ;P
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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