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Concert and weather notes

The symphony on Saturday night was fine, with the Beethoven Piano Concerto #1 as the highlight. Pianist Angela Hewitt was highly entertaining. You know how concertos go, where the orchestra plays a little, then the pianist plays pretty much the same theme as the orchestra, and they trade back and forth the "lead" for the rest of the piece? (If you didn't, now you do.) Well, during the faster movements, Ms. Hewitt would enthusiastically play her passage and then lean in toward the orchestra to kind of hand it back to them. Once she went the opposite way as she played the last chord, toward the audience, as if to say "There!" We couldn't help but chuckle. She must've had a whole lot of fun playing the piece. I think the audience had a whole lot of fun listening to it — I know Dave and I did.

On her web site, she had only nice things to say about the show. D'aww.

The Pastoral (Symphony #6) was more or less OK. The last three movements came together very well after a somewhat sluggish start. The Pastoral was a great choice, as it's so summery and warm sounding. The air temperature at "gametime" was +3°F (−16°C) with winds gusting to 20mph or more, and we'd had snow squalls all day.

One disconcerting thing that has been happening lately at concerts is the audience clapping between movements of symphonies and concertos. I had read in a newspaper article via ArtsJournal.com, Applauding the relaxing of rules of clapping in classical concerts*, that applause between movements was making a comeback of sorts; it had been common before the late 19th century, actually, but then started the practice of applauding only at the end of the piece. The problem at the moment is, people are apparently not sure whether to applaud, so it sounds very weak. I'm sure the performers don't know what to make of that. Perhaps audience members should come to a consensus before the show on whether to applaud or not. Either yes or no, but not "oh maybe".

Dave and I stayed indoors most of the weekend because it was so cold. When the wind wasn't blowing it wasn't too bad, really, but that wind was cruel. Schools were closed all over the metro area today — I swear that wouldn't have happened when I was a child. Where was their compassion then?

* This isn't the exact article, but it's the same idea. Added Feb. 6.


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