Archive for March, 2010

Happy 200th birthday, Chopin

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

This post is one day late.  But it’s better late than never.

Two weekends ago, I went to hear the Wichita Symphony performing Chopin’s 1st piano concerto.  It was…  okay.  It is one of two skills showcase pieces performed by the orchestra this year.  When a composer makes a piece to showcase his skills, the piece often suffers from lacking orchestra part.  I noticed that clearly with Paganini’s violin concerto.  It was mentioned in the program note for this piece too.   The local music critic agrees too.  I thought Chopin was better than Paganini as far as orchestra part goes.

But beyond that… I really couldn’t get into this piece like I wanted to.  One of the reasons for going to this was to hear Nodame’s orchestra debut piece.  Now I need to listen to piece over and over again, and familiarize myself with it, to be ready to get excited about the piece.  (Man, that sounds so backwards.)

off topic #1

When you watch the performance of Dvorak’s 9th, you start to see some funny facts.  1) Tuba just sits, doing nothing for the most part.  He gets to play intro and outro for the 2nd movement.  The quiet movement.  While the rest of the orchestra is hitting fortissimo finale, he’s just sitting and waiting for the piece to end.  2) Cymbal is even worse.  You get one note.  The saving grace is it’s marked as “solo.”  (Yes! Cymbal solo!)  But once again, it’s a very quiet note.  You miss this solo, and some people probably won’t know you missed it.  And you get to sit through the entire piece, doing nothing.  (That’s not entirely accurate, since you’d probably be playing the triangle in the 3rd movement.)

off topic #2

I’ve written how I like Mahler.  I’ve also written about Wichita Symphony getting a new musical director next year.  Those two are going to come together with a big bang.  I’m excited.  But I’m worried too, after seeing their Mahler’s 5th performance.  Will they really be able to pull together a piece that’s even bigger?  They’re tackling Mahler’s 2nd.  My absolute favorite symphony.  I’m now eager and anxious for the next season.  And for other popular cloud pleaser,  they’re also doing Rachmaninoff’s 2nd concerto.  I know lots of people like it, if I can find a case so close to me.  :P

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