Saturday, January 17, 2009

Symphony Night - rewind

This is a review/summary of the Knoxville Symphony Blogger's Night. In reading the other blog entries about Thursday night's concert, I'm kicking myself. If I had posted first, then they'd look foolish for using the same adjectives that I did. But I didn't post first. I'm well after the fact. So...

It was awesome. The venue, the selections, the performers, the conducting, the guest artist, the post-concert reception, everything. Awesome.

Really, it was.

Let's start at the end and work towards the front. Angie and I walked out with a reporter from City View magazine. She was there covering the blogging side of the event.

We left the reception room after all the other geeks bloggers had departed. Wine and cheese were served. I know nothing of wine and I avoided the cheese, mostly because it said, "Chili Lime, hand rubbed." I don't know what that means, nor do I want to.

We mingled with the other guests, Maestro Richman and Ms. Perlman, the featured artist. I was bold enough to ask them each for their autographs on my ticket stub. 

It was difficult to hold any depth of conversation because of the constant interruption for photo ops and hand shaking.

Now, mind you, this was at the end of a very long day for the conductor and pianist. Ms. Perlman had a bit of a head cold and was very gracious to attend the small party.

We met other bloggers and most of their names have left my head already. Frank. And Frank's blogfather. And Noah. And Noah's dad. Of course, That Chick and her trouper of a husband, Jason. He's an honorary blogger. He is quoted quite often. And KSO's own blogger, Katie. Then there was a gentleman that I took some photos for, but I can't for the life of me remember his name.

Kudos go to Stephanie Burdette for helping organize the evening and get all of the bloggers together.

After the final number, the Mendelssohn, completed we descended into the depths of the Tennessee Theatre. Beautiful building. On the inside. Nice on the outside, but beautiful on the inside. It was recently (in the last few years) renovated. The seats were comfy. I was very tempted to let my eyes close and let the music wash over me.

The intermission came between the Mozart concerto and the Mendelssohn symphony. Ms. Perlman was the pianist for the Mozart. I was not at all familiar with that piece. I think that it helps a concert goer to know the music, but this time I just listened and watched. Her style was extremely fluid. Her hands were the same. Lilting, graceful. And she had on some shiny silver shoes. It went with the flowing outfit that she was wearing. Normally a performer wears something staid and black. That's staid, not stained. Ms. Perlman's outfit had flowing arms and she looked like she was going out to a nice cocktail party. It worked for her.

Before she came out to the stage, Maestro Richman introduced her. His microphone wasn't working. The concert goers seemed to have no trouble letting him know that. Unruly visigoths. It wasn't on because the sound guy was also a stage hand. He was helping strike the set from the first piece, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto Number Three.

The musicians worked well together. Musically there were parts of it that were almost like the game of Hot Potato, but not so frantic. It couldn't be. Over half of them were wearing tuxedos. You can't play Hot Potato in a tux. It isn't proper. One has to gently pass the foil wrapped vegetable to the next person, not just throw it in the air. That's what they did with the concerto. They passed the figure from one player to the next. It was seamless. I think that the continuo player got stuck with it at the end of the first movement because she ended up playing the second movement by herself.

Before the small ensemble took the stage, there was much tuning and warming up. Typical musicians. No, wait. Most of the musicians that I know don't take time to do those things.

Jason and Stephanie were seated in the row just ahead of us. I guess they got the good seats. Actually, all the seats at the Tennessee are good seats.

The program actually started at about 7pm, when Maestro Richman took the stage for a chat, letting the concert goers in on some of the stories behind the music. He told us what to listen for, why Mendelssohn wrote the way he did (he studied Bach intimately). He invited Ms. Perlman out to talk about the Mozart concerto. Then a bit of question and answer. Yes, she has a family and stays in touch with them when she's on the road. She has a head cold. No, she's never recorded with her father (Itzhak Perlman, not Ron).

We arrived at about 6:45pm after a dinner at Ruby Tuesdays. I dropped Angie off at the front door while I parked at the State Street Parking Garage.

And that's the evening.

Summary: Top three things I liked about the evening...
  1. Watching the orchestra respond to Maestro Richman's conducting.
  2. Meeting other 'normal' people. People that enjoy music and life. And blogging.
  3. Having the opportunity to enjoy a world class artist, Ms. Navah Perlman.


Steve said...

Nice review. The backwardsness of it was interesting. I was expecting a surprise at the end of the review/beginning of the evening.

And thanks for the technical details (sound man is a stage hand). Good eye for detail there. Makes me wonder if they're understaffed (probably by voluneers), or if the guy was just trying to help out too much. Surprised the practice didn't catch a big miss like that.

Anyway, thanks for a guy-type review to balance out Angie's.

That Chick Over There said...

The normal people you met weren't Jason and Stephanie. Obviously.

And you are so right about those shoes. SHI-NY.

Doug McCaughan said...

It was great seeing everyone! I really love it when the Knoxville bloggers get together. I wish Noah and I could have stayed longer at the reception. I didn't feel that I really got to talk to enough people.

Great job on the review!

That Chick Over There said...

Oh and THANKS for putting up the link to my book. I thought no one in Knoxville knew who I was!

(Bad joke)