Marin Alsop is funny! Who knew?
Okay, maybe you did, but I didn’t until last night’s concert during her opening spiel about the use of the dies irae in all three of the night’s pieces. “If you’re unable to sleep tonight because of the dies irae… well, don’t call me, but I’m sorry.” And she made a crack about Superman.
Speaking of Superman, Daugherty’s “Red Cape Tango” was surprisingly good. It was a trifle repetitive, as the dies irae melody was pretty much the only melody through the whole ten or so minutes, but its reimagining with the traditional tango rhythm in the bass section was deliciously wry.
As for Liszt’s Totentanz, I can’t say I was particularly drawn in, but Thibaudet’s mastery of the wickedly hard runs (anything Liszt for piano is going to be wickedly hard) was mind boggling. As my friend Bekah said, “If I could play even one of those phrases I’d be insanely proud of myself.” Was it Liszt who supposedly sold his soul to the devil for instrumental prowess? No, wait, that was Paganini, I think. But Liszt might as well have too.
I was saddened when Benevolent Dictator Jamie informed me that we’d be setting up for college night during Symphonie fantastique, but cheered up considerably when I discovered that the acoustics are so bloody good in the concert hall that you can hear everything even when you’re outside of it. Certainly it’s not the same as being right there inside the swell of music, but good enough to hear the funny little high bits on the oboe during “The Witches’ Sabbath” I like so much.
College night itself… well, the weather killed us. It was so rainy and dreary and generally blah that everyone just wanted to go home and be depressed over their homework. But we coerced a decent crowd into staying, and some musicians were there too, which helped liven things up; one violinist especially was the life of the party, so he needs to come every time.
Also there were mozarella and tomato sandwiches on focaccia, which frankly were a reason to live. If for no other cause than those, you should be sorry if you weren’t there. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when the next one is coming up.