Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pre-Concert Review

Of course you can't review a concert before it's happened, but I feel compelled to write about the concert the orchestra is about to give, instead of reviewing it after the fact as I typically do. This evening, the Tuscarawas Philharmonic will perform Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Dvorak's Cello Concerto.

If people in the audience pay attention even for a few minutes, they'll ride an emotional coaster of exhilaration and exhaustion, fear and courage, sorrow and happiness. All you have to do is listen to feel the full spectrum of the human condition, and I'm not exaggerating here. Think of the words that represent emotions—beleaguered, rejected, disillusioned, empty, hostile, jubilant, hopeful, quenched, soothed, happy,—at some point this evening, everyone in that concert hall will feel these things.

Here, take a look at this, with Yo-Ya Ma performing the first movement of the concerto (if you have time, click through to listen to the whole thing, and if you don't wipe a tear in the second movement, go back and listen again, because you've missed something):

Our soloist is a 19-year-old young man who can relate to you the nature of this concerto with the heart of someone much older and wiser. He'll talk to you about Dvorak's personal life and then jump out of his seat, run over to his cello leaning in the corner and say, "Listen to this passage. This is exactly what I'm talking about!" And then on the fly, he'll play notes that will rip your heart out.

I could go into detail about the story behind Scheherazade, but you've probably already heard it, or at least you know the story of One Thousand and One Nights. Our concert master pulls the character of Scheherazade, a desperate woman spinning yarns to save her life, out of her violin so that you forget where you are and nearly miss your cue. And the rest of us answer her with such angry foot-stomping like the most agitated sultan determine to behead another young bride and finally teach those nasty females a lesson. He has met his match.

So, this is what's in store for today. I have no idea how I'll play this afternoon at rehearsal or this evening at the performance, but at this very moment, I am psyched. I am excited and ready to take a bite out of that coaster of the human experience.

I know you can't make it because you live too far away, most of you, so here are some links to fill you in. First, a pre-concert chat where Conductor Eric explains some of the nuances of the music. I created this video as one of my new tasks on the board of trustees—shot in my own piano room and assembled in my messy office with a big puppy chewing on sticks at my feet:

And here is a link to the newsletter with information about the soloist and music and the orchestra in general.


dive said...

Woohoo! Play your socks off, Robyn.
What an inspirational post. And what glorious music: Sheherezade so full of excitement (and tricky horn passages) and Dvorak of course always brings to my mind the great open wilderness spaces over on your side of the pond. Yo-Yo Ma plays it beautifully (but then you'd expect nothing less).

It was a fantastic idea of yours to have Eric introduce his audience to the evening's delights on video. He has such wonderfully expressive hand movements and facial expressions; his love of the music he conducts really comes across, as does his deep understanding of the pieces. I just wish I could be at the Performing Arts Centre this evening to see and hear you play.

If anyone sneaks in an iPhone and records some of it do please let me know and send me a link.

Have a great concert!

Scout said...

Tricky is the word for some of those horn parts. The video was actually Eric's idea. He'd been talking about it for a while, and we finally decided to just do it.