Tuesday, December 9, 2014

reviews: play, concert, blank space

1. Wandered down to the local high school because they were producing Noises Off, one of our favorite plays. It was, perforce, a high school production. After the first act, students behind us who hadn't seen it before were asking each other, "Is this supposed to be funny?", and we were tired enough that we considered just going home. But I'm glad we stayed, because the remaining two acts got successively better, nonwithstanding major rewrites both intentional and apparently unintentional of the script. The student director played, not the director of the play-within-the-play, but the stagehand, who consequently - in a manner familiar to me from a production of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet in which the choreographer danced Mercutio - became a far more prominent character and the most competent one of the whole hapless bunch.

2. Symphony Silicon Valley played Bruckner's Fourth. Oh yes, I had to hear that. It started out cold, but both the orchestra and conductor Tatsuya Shimono rapidly warmed up and swam beautifully. Great sound, adjusted for the fact that I was in the worst section of the house. The oddest-sounding violinist I know, Mayuko Kamio, brought a light Mozartean edition of her peculiar tone quality to Mozart's "Turkish" concerto. This was pretty good too, but turned out to be just a curtain-raiser for her encore, an arrangement of a work that I know well, but was so not expecting to hear in this context that it took me a bit to recognize it. It was Schubert's Erlkönig, the entire piano and vocal parts stuffed into the hands of one violin. What I didn't know was who had the gall to arrange it, but this was easily researched online: it was a 19C virtuoso named H.W. Ernst.

Kamio just tore the pants off this thing, an amazing performance. There are others online, but I'm not going to link because they're not a patch on hers. I will, however, direct you to the score (pdf), decorated with double stops, triple stops, yea even quadruple stops, and which should give a good idea of what it's supposed to sound like.

I reviewed this, but a new copy editor tore it apart and made hash out of it. I managed to get the more serious damage undone, but I no longer have warm thoughts of this review.

3. The other thing I should have done last weekend was attend the annual Reading and Eating Meeting of Khazad-dûm, the local Mythopoeic Society group. Except for possibly one or two years when I was in Seattle, I've been to each one of these for 40 years now. We eat a potluck dinner and then sit around the fire reading stories. But not this year, because it was cancelled at nearly the last minute due to serious illness in the hosting house. Not the contagious kind, but bad enough that having people over was not on. I hope this is not the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment