Monday, April 29, 2013

three concerts and a fedora

Concert no. 1. Stanford Symphony, Bing, Friday. Another entry in their Beethoven season, and the first I've gotten to in three months. This one had the Fidelio Overture, Piano Concerto No. 1, and Symphony No. 7. My seat had me breathing down the necks of the last two double bassists, right next to the trumpeters, so it was the severest test yet of the Bing acoustics. Yes, the trumpets blared, but the rest of the orchestra was still plainly audible. The piano (J. Nakamatsu, prop.), hidden behind its lid, was severely muffled, but that was the worst of it. Good lively performances, strongly sending me back to the days when Beethoven was an exciting new discovery for me.

Concert no. 2. Mission Chamber Orchestra, le petit Trianon, Saturday. The orchestra that plays like a military marching band stomped its heavy boots through Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 (yes, him again) and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. This did no harm to Beethoven, but how it affected Mendelssohn was definitely a matter of taste. I, who don't normally much care for the Violin Concerto, enjoyed it greatly. My mother, who loves the concerto, was appalled. I have some theories to explain this grid of reactions.

Concert no. 3. Piano trios, Oshman, Monday. Corey Cerovsek (violin), Adrian Brendel (cello, son of pianist Alfred), and Elaine Hou (piano) applied strongly different playing techniques to the disparate trio of Haydn, Ravel, and Brahms. What they had in common was all being strongly passionate without seeming to be seriously emotionally engaged in the music. Brahms fared the best.

Fedora (my musical reporter's hat). After noticing in the Ives Quartet's season announcement that they were leaving the Trianon next season, I figured it was time for an update on the venue's status after its bankruptcy announcement last fall. I wandered by one day a couple weeks ago and interviewed the manager again; then I left phone messages with all the music vendors and waited for callbacks to dribble in over the following week. What most amused me was the manager saying that he didn't give the music groups detailed information about the current legal and financial status, because if he did, they'd only fret and consider not returning; while the groups complained to me that they were fretting because they couldn't get detailed information out of the management.

I suggested to my editors in the middle of all this that there might be a full article in it. They agreed, and here it is.

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