So my first Seattle Symphony concert for the 2008-2009 season has finally arrived and it was quite good. The only kind of depressing thing is that the concert hall was quite empty. Usually it’s between 80-90% capacity (at least as far as I can see), and today it was at about 60%. Maybe too many people wanting to watch the VP debate. Who knows? Anyway, they missed a great concert. Three pieces:
1. Stephen Albert’s “Anthems and Processionals”
2. Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 107” with Lynn Harrell playing the cello
3. Richard Strauss’s “Ein Heldenleben”, with Maria Larinoff playing the violin solo (she is the first violin for the Symphony, not an invited guest)
In general it was great. Albert’s piece was an American premiere of the revised version, which brings me to a puzzling concept: Stephen Albert died on a car accident in 1992. He was a composer in residence for the Seattle Symphony and the Symphony did its world premiere in 1988 (somewhere in the program it said it was in 1998, which made it more puzzling, but it was most probably a typo). Just after the premiere, he started working on the revised edition. And only this year they finally played the revised edition. At least 16 years after it was written (probably closer to 20 years). A long time to leave a piece in the drawer.
Nice piece, though. I did overhear some people saying that it was a piece for the MTV generation, because something happened on it every 20 seconds, but I wasn’t able to remember it enough to confirm it. In any way, I should look into more things from this composer.
The rest was also great, but not new. The Shostakovich is a very hard piece to perform, but it was performed amazingly well. Not perfect, but, hey, I wouldn’t want to be the one playing it. The Strauss had amazing energy. This is an example of a composer that is able to use a huge orchestra and build something that doesn’t sound just like a mass of noise. Or one big chord. Genius!
Alright, I should stop writing emails and posting on my blog and go to bed.
Oh, I just wanted to add that my day today started very interestingly: with a bus on fire inside the bus tunnel just by work. Not terrorist attack type of fire, just the engine apparently overheated or something and had actual flames coming out of it. I wished I had the energy to take a picture with my camera so that I could have posted it here for the curious. I was already thinking about all the things I had to do at work, so I decided to just move on.