all in the family – part I

it was a family affair last night at the schnitz, no doubt about it.  guest conductor pinchas zukerman, wearing all-black gucci pj’s, sauntered to the podium with an illusory casualness that probably comes from experienced genius, and launched into a work composed by his father-in-law.  this jubilee overture was largely a brassy fanfare sounding as if it were composed for a summer olympics opening ceremony.  just as i was about to unpack my javelin and speedos, the work ended with a rousing flourish of cymbal and horns and i was left to mentally prepare for my personal highlight of the program.  after listening intently to Beethoven’s symphony #1 countless times at home, it’s one of the few works this season that i would say i actually “know” – able to anticipate melodies, rhythms, chord changes, yadda yadda.  tonight, however, was the first time hearing it live, and the difference was akin to first watching avatar on a 13” black and white tv and then ponying up the $28 to be blown away by the intense digital-full-color-hi-def-3-D-surround-sound.  zukerman milked the opening, bringing out some super lush orchestration that just can’t be duplicated in a recording, no matter how good one’s system and speakers are.  this first movement unfolded to reveal the quick tempo and string/wind precision that in many ways characterize the whole piece.  the second chapter clearly revealed the fresh and scrappy 29-year-old composer was tuned into the lilting classical influence of folks like haydn and mozart.  to reassert himself in a big way, this Ludwig kid throws out a wicked 4-minute third movement of rollicking major/minor shifts.  the tight fourth and final movement is in every way the customary finale, and though the band briefly morphed into a petite music box near the end, this only made the actual closing more pronounced, capped by seven decisive downbeat exclamation points that are undeniably Beethovenian.  i walked through the lobby at intermission a bit incredulous that it was only halftime.  how could there be more?

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1 Response to “all in the family – part I”


  1. 1 L Forsyth April 17, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Pinchas Zukerman does not wear Gucci pj’s onstage!


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