Monday, November 1, 2021

a little day music

The Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra held another public rehearsal, in the same grass amphitheater in the Mountain View civic park that they played in on the Fourth of July. As before, B. was in the principal violin seat, and I came along as driver and listener. This time it was Halloween, so the repertoire was a bit different from July.

The Balletto from Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances, the least obviously seasonal of the repertoire; Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King," a great workout for the winds; Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette," which got its place in this concert due to having been Alfred Hitchcock's tv theme tune; Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre," with several of the violins playing the solo part at once, which wasn't nearly as awful as it sounds; and a couple of pops pieces to close off: a 1940s song called "Autumn Leaves," known, though not previously by me, for having lyrics by Johnny Mercer; and a medley of spooky theme songs.

This last supposedly included the theme song from Scooby-Doo, which I don't recall any theme song from and didn't recognize any here; and the theme song from Ghostbusters, which doesn't have a theme song: all it has is a guy shouting "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!" which the orchestra vocalized here, thus proving my point.

The "Funeral March" turned out to be the most challenging piece, due to its frequent shifts of tempo and key, and detailed repeating sections. One remembers that its composer was most at home in opera, and he brought some of that composing style to his other works. Then when the conductor tried to insert a main theme reprise into "Autumn Leaves," I understood what she meant the first time but most of the players had considerable trouble. However, most of the playing was quite adequate for an amateur group and a genuine pleasure to hear.

The small audience - this didn't get as publicized as much as July did - included a lot of small children in costume carrying goodie buckets. It was nice to know they're still making Halloween-celebrating kids, since trick-or-treaters stopped coming by in our neighborhood several years ago, so we've ceased putting anything out or buying candy that'd only get leftover.

The boys wore a variety of costumes, though dinosaur-shaped full-body onesies were popular among the toddler set; the girls were mostly princesses, though I did spot one 3-or-4-year-old Spiderwoman.

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