Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer Concert on a Saturday

Yesterday we went to hear the New River Symphony's summer concert.  What a treat.  It was held in a church, which meant we had much closer seats than we would have had in a concert hall.

The concert had 2 conductors, which was interesting.  One of them gave us some background on each piece.  When it was time for the Bach concerto, the conductor told us about Bach and his busy life as a performer.  He had lots of commitments and very little time.  So when he had a performance, he often didn't have time to write something new.  He'd take something already written and revise it for the musicians who would be playing.

Interestingly enough, we often have the recast versions preserved, but not the originals.  And now, we have a generation of musicians rewriting that recast version.

Yesterday, we heard the concerto revised by the conductor for oboe and strings--certainly not what Bach intended.  But it was beautiful.

It made me think about the visions and revisions of our creative output.  It made me think about blog posts that turn into essays for other websites before finding their way back to essays for a book, a collection with its own narrative arc.  What other projects could we be recasting to get more mileage out of them?

We heard a piece by Mahler, who felt a pressing need to finish an opera by another musician.  Why would he do that and not his own work?  The conductor told us that if we knew Mahler, we'd see his later work in this early work that came before he did his own important work.

Alas, I don't know Mahler that way.

My favorite part of the concert was the Vivaldi piece, "Autumn," from The Four Seasons, the work which has been one of my favorite pieces of classical music from early on--that and Pachelbel's Canon in D.

I understand now that these pieces are old standards--beloved old standards.  I understand that there's lots of music out there.  But it was such a THRILL to hear the Vivaldi piece, a piece that's as familiar to me as any of the rock music of my youth.  I've heard it so often, but never live.

Just once I'd like a concert that's composed primarily of familiar, beloved pieces, along with one or two new pieces.  I almost never go to concerts with that mix.  And I daresay, if there were more of those kinds of concerts, you might see more people attending.

Plus, they might be younger people.  I'm 49, and along with a few other people in my age division, and an elementary school age girl who was trying so hard to be good as she colored file folders to hold her creative work, we were the youngest people in the audience by far; I'd guestimate by a good 15-20 years.

What happens to these symphonies and orchestras as these older patrons can no longer attend.  My mom and dad are active in classical music communities, and I know this question is a central one.

But I digress.  Yesterday's concert was a great experience, out of the ordinary for a summer day.  And afterward, we went to Sam Ash music and bought supplies:  violin strings, some teaching books, and a half size violin.  My spouse is beginning to take on young students, and he needs smaller violins than the ones we have.

So now, if we start a symphony or a mandolin punk band or a music studio, we've got 2 half size violins for the youngest members!

And in the meantime, if you're in the South Florida area, you've got one more chance to see and hear this concert this afternoon at 4 p.m.  Go here for details.

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