Monday, February 29, 2016

two concerts

1. Solas. I must have heard of this band somewhere, because I'd felt positive associations when I'd seen the name on the Freight calendar, and so I'd impulsively picked up a ticket beforehand. But when I got to the concert, I found a band I'm sure I'd not known before. The hall was pretty packed, though, and rightly so as the band was a good one: a thoroughly pleasant way to spend an evening, which is what I want of folk music. Irish group, some of whose members are Irish-American, with a typically Irish repertoire mostly of slow songs and fast dances. Instrumental lineup of fiddle, button accordion, guitar, and multi-instrumentalist-usually-banjo, plus an occasional fifth at piano.

2. Marin Symphony. A baby began crying during the first movement of Brahms' Fourth Symphony. What I wonder is, why was the baby there in the first place? This isn't baby music. Were you expecting Brahms' Lullaby?

Those responsible hastily exited. The rest of us heard a splendid interpretation. The orchestra was good, too: for a group that only plays three full concerts a year, Marin has it together. My only quibble is that the horns, and the winds in general, are a bit raw for ideal Brahms. I'd like to hear this sound in Tchaikovsky, though. But everyone responded superbly to Music Director Alasdair Neale's impassioned vision of the emotion, the tenderness and power, of this music. The Andante, in particular, had the soul of Brahms.

Brahms' symphony and his Tragic Overture framed Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, a piece I like but had never, I think, heard in concert before. Gently lyrical guitar-picking by Robert Belinic, dutiful attempt to keep the orchestra from drowning him out by the composer.

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