between a rach (3) and a hard place – part I

holy shit, what a concert!  [before i go any further, if you are reading this and happen to be independently wealthy beyond your wildest dreams (or know someone who is), please take a moment and consider using that mountain of moolah to build a time machine and record last night’s concert for future generations.  thank you.]  okay, yesterday i was fully prepared to suffer through carl nielsen’s purgatory in order to get to yuja wang’s slice of heaven.  but once again, the band stepped up beyond all measure and blew away any danish modern doubt.  after kicking things off with a densely meandering overture by johnny brahms, white-vested maestro carlos grabbed the mic to deliver an earnest and informative monologue (mischievously punctuated once again by the perfect timing of king percussionist deponte, who as of late, seems to be transforming himself into a sort of symphonic paul schaffer).  the baton was raised and the band was off, serving up a symphony that may be unlistenable when played at home, but whole-heartedly brilliant and acoustically engaging when experienced live (i.e. kick-ass).  if you happen to like the tim and eric awesome show, great job!, or perhaps coltrane’s interstellar space, this was the os concert for you.  unexpected firestorms of strings, unforeseen rhythms, unmelodically frank winds, unanticipated key signatures stacked on top of one another… um, mr. nielsen, wtf?!  the bizarre second movement, with its insistent triangle and aggressive snare drums, had me thinking last week’s percussion spectacular was still going strong.  all of the strings and most of the brass sat out these 4 minutes, and it was a treat just to watch them listening excitedly to their colleagues.  the last movement, in addition to being a bassoonist’s wet dream, is funny, harsh, bittersweet… shit, just open up a thesaurus, pick an adjective, and one could find a moment in this finale that corresponds to the descriptor [seriously, try it at home]. some surprisingly boisterous applause of a packed schnitz sent a pretty clear message to the musicians who earned their keep with this weird and wacky wonder: let’s not wait another 85 years to hear it again.

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5 Responses to “between a rach (3) and a hard place – part I”


  1. 1 Mary Petillo February 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I think your blog should be renamed the scatalogicalbeaver. Your gratuitous use of vulgar terms is insulting to the classy audiences that are Symphony patrons.
    While I appreciate your humor and I can tolerate your writing “style” which eschews use of appropriate capitalizations, I often do not make it to the end of your blogs when you go over the top with obscenities.
    Keep writing but clean it up, please.

  2. 2 Jordan (The Neo-classical Tapir) February 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    There are FAR WORSE blogs out there, in terms of language, and I think that all of us, being grown-ups (I mean, who else would read a blog that’s ONLY about the Oregon Symphony? Certainly not anyone’s 13 year-old nephew), should be able to handle some occasional “potty language.” Keep the fart jokes coming, Scatological Beaver! …Also, I;d use the new name. It’s all catchy and shit.

  3. 3 Nikos February 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Do not change a thing, beaver. I enjoy your insights and your fresh look on all things orchestral. The “classy audiences that are Symphony patrons” can avert their eyes and read the Oregonian or the WSJ, or whatever the f**k classy audiences read these days (boy, some cliches are immortal, what’s next, “classical music relaxes you”, I can hear it coming…)
    Besides, I find your use of shit very organic (it is after all biodegradable)and not gratuitous at all.
    I say f*****m of expression contains the dirtiest word of all.

  4. 4 Portia February 9, 2011 at 10:39 am

    You know you’ve arrived when people start getting all up in your biznatch. Congrats!

  5. 5 Nancy Ives February 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Oh, dear…I love all of our audience, classy and not-so-much. ;>)

    There are some good ones in here, Brian! I wish I could claim that we deliberately scared you with our networking (ahem) comments so that you would be pleasantly surprised and like the Nielsen after all — bwa-ha-ha — but the truth is, we were as surprised as you were at how cool it turned out to be!


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