MTT and the Really Big Orchestra
Wednesday night, we went to see Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Orchestra perform at the Kennedy Center. The performance was … mixed. They did the Tchaikovsky 2nd Violin Concerto (one of my favorites), and some relatively obscure Ravel and Liszt. And they performed a piece that premiered on March 4 of this year, Kissine’s Post-Scriptum.
I’m a heathen. I’m not a fan of most contemporary music, say anything "classical" (read: concert hall ready) written in the last, oh, eighty years or so. I suspect that some of my problems are based on a lack of education — I simply don’t understand the dynamics of a lot of those pieces, and I don’t understand the idiom. Some of my problems, though, are based on a lack of attractiveness — pushing the limits of discordant sound simply isn’t attractive to my ear. Neither are "street noises", such as sirens on stage.
The Kissine was not as unlikable as many recent compositions. There *were* interesting things with the dynamics, and with the dialog between different instruments. I couldn’t discern the shape of the piece, though, and at 25 minutes, it was a very long patchwork that blurred in my mind and ear.
The major thing I walked away with: Wow, that was a *huge* orchestra. Larger than any I’d seen before, including those that have performed Mahler. Eight string bass, two harps, six percussionists *running* to different stations to play some instruments I’d never seen/heard before, six trumpets, six horns, four trombones, a Wagner tuba…. (And, of course, lots and lots and *lots* of strings.)
All in all, not a perfect success of an evening. But an interesting one, and a piece I’m willing to bet I never hear again!
Mindy, through playing, ready to delve back into the day’s work 🙂