dr. zopfi in ‘da house

steven zopfi is the music director for the absolutely brilliant portland symphonic choir ~ a chorus that won’t bore us, guaranteed.  come to the schnitz this saturday and i’ll prove it to you.  although he’s gotta be crazy-busy, he was nice enough to talk to the beav about the upcoming program… 

okay, time magazine named uncle igor’s symphony of psalms as the best piece of classical music written in the 1900’s.  discuss.

I never think about rankings like that.  Certainly, it is one of the iconic pieces of the 20th-century.  To call it #1 or #2 seems a bit above my pay grade.  Maybe “one” of the top pieces.  How’s that?

okay, you can be diplomatic just this once.  hey, wow, i noticed you’ll be wielding the baton this saturday!  have you conducted the band before?

Yep.  I conducted the Oregon Symphony last year in Mozart’s C-Minor Mass and selections from Wagner’s Lohengrin.  Working with the symphony is exhilarating, intimidating, and fun all at the same time.  I hope I am up to the challenge.  There are some fantastic musicians in that group.

boy-oh-boy, you’re telling me.  okay, one last query before i let you go: can you think of any other music quite like uncle Ludwig’s choral fantasy?

Hah! I always think this piece is a cross between the 4th piano concerto and the 9th symphony.  It starts off so pianistically (is that a word?) with this extended piano solo – very improvisatory, really.  And then it moves into a variation form but, with the alternation between the piano and the orchestra, it feels more like a concerto to me.  But when the chorus comes in, it sounds more like a dry-run for the 9th.  It took Beethoven 7 or 8 years to realize his dream to put a choir at the end of an orchestral piece.  He didn’t do it again until the 9th.  That’s my two cents….

thanks for the deposit!  yeah, i hear what you’re sayin’… it’s kinda like a weird double concerto for piano and choir.  and when i say weird, i mean fantastic.  dr. zopfi, thank you for your time ~ break a leg on saturday!

what’s that, faithful beaver reader?  you wanna hear more from steven?  well, i’m glad you asked… *click here for his interview from last season.


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