i’d rather not end on a sour note, so i’m gonna slap my p.s. onto the front of this review and get it out of my system. here goes. p.s. – to the a-hole who brought an infant child to the middle of the orchestra section on monday night… seriously, what the eff were you thinking?!
well, the first official classical concert of the season is now a memory… but what a memory! after the prerequisite star-spangled rendition of our national anthem, maestro carlos introduced us to 3 brand-spankin’ new members of the band and, before heading into the first number, offered the crowd a bit of buddhist wisdom: “if you do not resist, then you cannot get hurt.” a gong crash would have been the perfect response, but instead the orchestra silently awaited the raised baton. hard to believe it was only 9 minutes long, narong prangcharoen’s musical postcard offered a grip of images and sounds from the mekong river – and an honest-to-god workout for neil and the other percussionists who tore it up proper. ending in an eerie slurry of mismatched violin bowing, the ghostly piece was a spot-on snapshot of some truly supernatural shit.
and then the moment we were all waiting for: barely 30-something hilary hahn and her barely 140-something vuillaume took to the stage, ready to conquer. what is there left to say about this musician that hasn’t already been said in countless reviews filled with countless superlatives? she was good. really good. really, really, really… really good. the fireball red gown she wore monday night was more than appropriate – the technical explosions of sound and feeling that shot forth from this energetic performer were unbelievably riveting from start to finish. understandably, the audience burst into applause after the first movement (and i have it on good authority at saturday night’s performance, a lady jumped to a premature standing ovation (thanks, dan)). and let’s not forget to tip our goorin hat to the man behind the music: pyotr illyich tchaikovsky. the guy wrote this concerto in just 3 weeks (no doubt fueled by a love affair that dare not speaketh its nameth) and created the perfect vehicle for virtuoso violinists. it’s a literal showstopper filled with melodies still stuck in my cranium, a middle movement that is beautifully slow, ending with a whisper (just the kind i like), and dear god, an exhilaratingly fun finale. whew… the sugarplum fairy rides on!