Monday, September 28, 2015

concert review: Fremont Symphony

The last time I reviewed the Fremont Symphony, I got heavily bruised in comments from people who did not share my judgment that the conductor did an adequate job. Well, that conductor is gone, and Fremont is down to a series of guests this year, so I hope they're satisfied.

What drew both me and my editor to Saturday's concert was the alluring program. Chen Yi! (a much under-rated woman composer) Takemitsu, the great Japanese mystic! (Not as much to my taste as, say, Messiaen or Pärt, but still ...) Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto: now there's an unusual and neglected 20C masterpiece for you.

The newly-reduced word count didn't leave me space to say much about any of them, and I'm slightly amazed that the editors let pass my reference to the "chugga-chugga rhythms" in Karl Jenkins' Palladio. You're probably unfamiliar with that title, but you may still know the piece, as it's the source of the music in this commercial. (chorus: oh, that one!)

To my distress, I was rather tired out during this concert: short on sleep and not having been able to get much of a nap beforehand. It affects my receptivity to the music. It also affected something else: staying in my seat during intermission and attempting to get a few winks in, I was suddenly interrupted by a screechy voice saying, "Are you trying to take a nap?" This proved to belong to a middle-aged woman in an expensive dress with lots of jewelry and perfume, who'd sat down next to me to pose this query. She must have been part of the local gentry, as among the few equally well-dressed people standing in the aisle watching this I recognized the president of the symphony association.

I was not too tired to think up the reply, "If that was the case, then why did you interrupt it?" She semi-apologized but didn't answer the question, and while blabbering caressed my face in what she probably thought was a motherly way. I swatted her hand off. Had I been less tired, she might have gotten a lot more of a response. Grrrr. I haven't seen such pure rudeness from gentry since the last time I read Jane Austen.

Also unmentioned by me in the review, but more pleasant to hear, were a group of students who took turns playing bits of violin solos - a chunk of the solo part of the Mendelssohn concerto, that sort of thing - in the atrium before the concert.

And I've got to either find somewhere decent to eat dinner near the Fremont Hub before concerts in those parts, or else go down to Irvington or Milpitas, where there are better places.

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