Oskar Morawetz: Sinfonietta for Strings 3rd movement: Allegro con brio Sinfonia Toronto / Nurhan Arman, Conductor Recorded live on March 4, 2017 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts https://youtu.be/3o7tOmzcDZ0
I went to the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra show last night. It was really good - especially for a free show. They started the show with a student composition (8 de Febrer by Vincente Ortiz Gimeno). It was fun, dynamic, and surprisingly professional sounding.
After that they played Schubert’s Symphony No. 8. It was good, and I recognized more phrases in it than I thought I would. I was also surpised to read in the program that Schubert died at 31 years old. The conductor made a big deal about how young Schubert was when he wrote his material…of course so was Mozart (who died at 35), anyway…
Then there were two pieces by modern composers - Halcyon Sun by Jonathan Bailey Holland and Fantasy on a River Theme by John Patitucci. I enjoyed parts of Halcyon Sun, but I felt a bit like JBH was playing with meter mostly to test the orchestra/show off that he has a Ph.D. from Harvard. The orchestra handled all of the rhythms fine, but I felt like I couldn’t enjoy the piece when I was so worried that someone was going to play a note at the wrong time. It was unfortunate because there were some interesting harmonic ideas being played in the less ‘academic’ parts of the piece.
I’m not a big bass guitar nerd, so I sat through the JP piece politely while I waited for the next piece - which I didn’t even know about until I read the program, but once I saw it listed I was happy that I made the trek into Boston….
THE NFL MADDEN THEME by Aubrey Hodges :-) It was so awesome. BCSO really rocked out on that one. They even had an electric guitar player. I would gladly go to a night at Symphony Hall with a program full of orchestral 'football music’ like the CBS theme (with the minor key 'serious music’ for when a player is hurt and they’re going to commercial, haha).
Then I sat through 'Theme of Schindler’s List’ by John Williams - which was well played, but obviously pretty depressing. I think they should have gone directly from the football music to the next piece…
Star Wars Theme by John Williams - My favorite piece of the night. Big bombastic orchestral movie music sounds so amazing live (and in an acoustically great space like Jordan Hall…From Wikipedia: It is one block from Boston’s Symphony Hall, and together they are considered two of America’s most acoustically perfect performance spaces.). If I knew no one would have seen or heard me I would have jumped out of my seat at the end of the piece with my fist in the air (I’m a super-dork), but I kept it demure and clapped at the end :-)
After the show I went up the street to the Trident (where else) for a late dinner: half a tuna melt sandwich, chicken and rice soup, and ginger-lemon tea with honey…from the bear shaped bottle.
There are a lot of free and cheap events over the next few weeks since Berklee, NEC, BoCo, and others are wrapping up spring semester and getting ready for graduation in May. I’ll try to make some time to get out to a few more.