October 10, 2008

Opening Night

I have been waiting for this night. I have been waiting almost three months for this night! You spend so much time as an orchestra administrator at the RPO in meetings and planning and budgeting and just working in an office - you can start to forget what you’re working for. And then this night finally comes. Opening night at the Phils! And for me, it's not the hoopla leading up to it or the pre-concert parties or the post concert reception...it's the moment that the lights dim and you hear this orchestra fire up those guttural emotions inside you that remind you why you LOVE THIS MUSIC (and the RPO with it).

Shostakovich Festive Overture. It was a great way to open the concert. I can't help but start to smile hearing our brass section punch those opening chords. My smile gets bigger when I hear the galloping percussion that could give William Tell a run for his money and when the full orchestra marches in at the end of the piece it's just elation for me.

The Beethoven Emperor Concerto is a great piece, just not actually one of my favorite piano concertos (it's my blog and I can write what I want to). Don't know why I have never loved it but nevertheless the RPO and Andre Watts danced together so well during the grand waltzing in the third movement.

But the moment I was really waiting for honestly was hearing Dvorak 9. One of my favorite pieces...for me the symphony never gets old. I agree with Christopher Seaman in his program note...calling the piece a "warhorse" is such a stodgy way of hearing this awesome music. The history behind the piece is so interesting...but the music...wow. The first movement, when the brass and timpani quietly roll in, gives me goose bumps; the beautiful ensemble work by the winds in the second movement, and hats off to our new English horn player Anna Stelthenpohl. Second week on the job and she has to play that signature theme in the Largo movement, while switching back and forth to her oboe. You could tell how great the orchestra played when in between the movements you could hear a pin drop…for a second….and then the audience erupted in their own symphony of coughing, fidgeting and laughing at the sounds they were making. The strings in the third movement were incredible – just driving and driving and driving. But the forth movement: heart wrenching. When Christopher stirred the strings into a frenzy followed by the echoing brass and timpani, I could not stop feeling my heart race with them. It makes all that craziness in the office and that time off from the live performance worthwhile.

I have been waiting for this night and it was worth the wait.

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