if monday night’s concert was a poker game, the last hand was easily won by tchaikovsky with a royal flush (of hearts, of course). oy ~ this guy is clearly the billy joel of classical music, with more memorable melodies than any other composer hands down. period. i never had a chance to hear any recordings of uncle pyotr’s romeo and juliet fantasy overture before the performance, and had no idea this work contains the most overused, romantic musical cliché of our time: the soundtrack of lovers running towards each other in slowmo. [trust me, you know it.] luckily, hearing the star-crossed soundbite live within the context of the whole 20-minute overture (which seemed like 5) effectively made it fresh once more, forcing hundreds of hearts to simultaneously skip a collective beat. and as if the lushness of 50 stringed instruments weren’t enough to get your blood pumping, percussionist wunderkind matt mckay proved he doesn’t need a thundersheet to get our attention. armed with only a pair of cymbals, mr. mckay was quite simply the platonic form of virtuosic precision. when the finale arrived, sitting on my paws was the only thing keeping me from blissfully running down the center aisle of the schnitz… in slow motion, of course.
as though sensing a savage rodent needed to be tamed, maestro zukerman momentarily borrowed chien tan’s (2nd) violin for an encore, playing the most famous lullaby ever written by brahms, or anyone else… and he encouraged everyone to sing along. [c’mon, i can’t make this stuff up!] pinchas returned the fiddle, bade the crowd auf wiedersehen, happily waved goodbye, strolled off stage, and poof ~ a third of the 2011/12 season is officially a memory. a big beaver-tail salute goes out to the best band in stumpland!