oxymorons be damned, the evening’s final work paired the symphony with not 1 but 2 soloists – zukerman on violin and his wife amanda forsyth on cello making sweet sweet love to johannes brahms’ romantically lush score. are you by any chance familiar with “the birth of venus” by renaissance painter botticelli?… you know, the one with the ethereal beauty standing serenely in a giant seashell, golden hair blowing in the wind, accompanied by some other folks who fall into the background because they simply can’t compete with the bombshell center stage? well, dust off your art history 101 textbook or use the google if you still don’t know what the hell i’m talking about, because for me that image perfectly conveys what it was like when amanda forsyth graced the stage. wearing this insane floorlength loose white gypsy dress with spaghetti straps and a single bold floral print at the hemline, ms. forsyth sat atop an altar/podium, straddled her 300-year-old cello, and i doubt anyone (male, female, gay, straight, democrat, republican, registered independent) in the packed audience was able to take their eyes off her for the remainder of the night. her expressive playing was so beautiful to watch and hear, especially this captivating solo brahms wrote near the very start of the piece that, for a brief moment, sounded remarkably japanese. the possible combinations (6 if my math is correct) of violin, cello, and an ocean of orchestral strings were nothing short of entrancing. a small miracle, maestro zukerman was somehow able to conduct while also playing solo violin, at times using his bow as a baton on steroids. upon receiving the customary bunch of roses at ovation time, ms. forsyth insistently and deservedly gave away her bouquet to our topnotch concertmaster jun iwasaki, who throughout the performance helped to keep the already tight band in sync. the blushing mr. iwasaki quickly pawned off the flowers to a fellow violinist behind him – the roses kept being passed around in the first violin section like a floral hot potato, until one of the musicians brilliantly decided to end the game by just keeping them for himself, facing the audience like a newly selected miss america, minus the tiara. i won’t often say this about something that happens at a symphony concert: it was fucking hilarious.
ugh – there are many things that will have to remain unwritten for now, but this is already part II and i do have quite a number of dirty dishes on the counter. suffice it to say, i’m really happy to call this orchestra my own.