hey mr. tambourine men – part I

wow.  last show of the season, and trust me, the guys and gals of the oso didn’t just phone this one in.  making what i learned is called a european entrance (ooh-la-la), the symphony musicians collectively took to the stage and got the bernstein encore out of the way first.  maestro carlos then let the horns and brass shine in a brilliant fanfare before offering several of his star players a well-deserved turn in the limelight (remarking in the pre-concert chat that the hardest part of designing the lineup was having to leave so many folks out).  after the band’s orgasmically triumphant carnegie hall debut, the string of musical gems packed into the first half of the program were akin to post-coital puffs off a cigarette ~ leisurely, decadent, and addictive.  joël “fear no poutine” belgique kicked things off with a heartbreaker (hindemith’s trauermusik, if you simply must know), his trusty viola oozing mournful warmth and buttery sound.  next up was the dynamic duo of alicia d-to-the-d-to-the paulsen on her magic flute and a swingin’ todd kuhns on his equally magical clarinet (playing saint-saëns’ tarantelle, if you simply must know).  they absolutely blew it in a very good way, and easily cured the poor boy in the balcony bitten earlier by a poisonous spider.  looking ravishing in red, nancy “thrice removed” ives mounted her platform, straddled her cello, and made uncle pyotr proud (playing tchaikovsky’s pezzo capriccioso, if you simply must know).  the piece lives up to its whimsical title, gently flowing one minute, rip-roarin’-down-home-appalachian the next.  what followed was easily the most surreal (and most portland) performance of the night: two black, white, and pink tuxedo-clad symphony musicians, each standing on one leg, flanking coach kalmar’s podium armed only with tambourines.  michael daugherty’s 20-year-old composition (entitled flamingo, if you simply must know) is a particularly peculiar percussive spectacle, ironically crisp and totes fresh.  niel “the veteran” deponte and matthew “the greenhorn” mckay made for a dreamy tag team demonstrating 50 ways to love a tambourine – and oh yeah, a big beaver shoutout to m. reneau and his trombone for putting the piece unequivocally over the top!  and the hits just kept coming.  the beautiful tango 1932 (composed by the oso’s own jeff tyzik, if you simply must know) gave játtik “lil’ bighorn” clark a miraculous chance to prove that the tuba, in the right hands, can be surprisingly sultry and seductive.  [btw, to the fucknut in section b who presumably unwrapped a snickers bar during the last half of mr. clark’s number, i will never forgive you.]  ahem.  okay, closing out the first half was none other than jun “busting out all over” iwasaki (slaying us all with ravel’s tzigane, if you simply must know).  his solo, emotionally and technically demanding throughout, was just stunning.  folks, the beave’s gotta say this program would be absolutely cringe-worthy in the hands of lesser bands, but the oregon symphony brought it on with absolute authority, leaving me longing for just one more puff…

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1 Response to “hey mr. tambourine men – part I”


  1. 1 Olin Williams May 24, 2011 at 10:29 am

    The Snickers unwrapping thing reminds me of my friend Steve’s story of attending a concert in NYC where a gentleman REPEATEDLY made similar noises during the music. When the lights came up for intermission an elderly woman with a thick German accent took the opportunity to stand up, point at the perp, and loudly proclaim: “Sir, you are a muzical anti-zocial!”


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