off with their ties! – part I

for over a day now, i’ve totally shunned listening to my personal music collection or to the radio, in the hopes of preserving monday night’s os concert in my mind’s ear for as long as possible; sorta like when someone shakes a celebrity’s hand and then refuses to wash their own, in the hopes of holding onto some kind of magical moment.  sorta.  just three weeks ago i was boldly claiming to anyone listening that i had just seen the classical show of the season… and then monday night happened.  conveniently coinciding (by coincidence?) with oregon ballet’s the stravinsky project, the oregon symphony’s weekend concerts opened up with a 4-part, 8-minute auditory pearl written by uncle igor in 1942 for the awesomely entitled film the commandos strike at dawn.  [a very cool fyi: the last time the symphony played this piece was exactly 57 years ago, with maestro stravinsky himself on the podium.  i’m sorry, but that’s just fucking sweet.  no two ways about it.]  slipping in and out of rhythm and key, the quirky military intro paves the way for one of the most beautifully slow songs i’ve heard in a long, long time.  truth be told, it made me cry a little.  part 3 is entitled wedding dance – i assume a midwestern wedding dance, because at one point i could taste the sloe gin fizz and smell the cigarette smoke while this raucously funny episode played.  the stop/start offbeat woodwinds of the finale confirmed the dazzling, stravinskified orchestration of the entire number, and delivered the first of many audience ovations.  bounding off the stage, last-minute maestro francis, who had never conducted, played, or even seen this music until just days before, made one helluva good first impression.

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