Thursday, September 27, 2007

bloggers' field trip

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra opened its season tonight with an all-American program. They will perform the same selections on Friday night at the Tennessee Theatre, in case you missed it. Just after the concertmaster made his entrance, my wife told me that someone backstage usually starts the applause as he walks on. She shook her head as I made sure that I was the first one to applaud for the conductor tonight. The show was divided into two halves: familiar and unfamiliar. I thought the first piece, "Short Ride in a Fast Machine," was fairly dissonant and modern sounding.

Everything stopped while they loaded in a piano for the soloist Jeffrey Biegel. I wondered why they didn't have the piano already on stage. Instead they used the orchestra pit floor as an elevator. The pit floor started at stage level and had to be lowered down into the bottom of the pit for the piano to be placed on it. By the time the floor was raised, I had ample time to imagine Biegel making a grand entrance, seated at a candelabra-covered piano and wearing a Liberace cape. He didn't. In reality, he strode in perfectly normally, sat down and played the heck out of Liebermann's Piano Concerto No. 3. The concerto is a new composition which was commissioned by a group of 18 orchestras, including ours. You can hear about it in the KSO opening night podcast.

Given the advanced age of most of the concertgoers, I knew to get to the restroom quickly at intermission or else I would be stuck at the end of the "prostate parade." The line for the men's room is always just as long as the line for the ladies' room. The concert concluded with two very well-known pieces, "Appalachian Spring" and "An American in Paris." My father often listened to classical music at home, including the Copland opus. I remember when I first heard the Shaker hymn "Lord of the Dance" at church, I assumed that Copland had written it. Hearing the composition tonight reminded of the one time I saw Aaron Copland in person. I was working in the box office at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts for the summer when I saw Mrs. Shouse driving her golf cart across the plaza with Copland as her passenger.

After the concert, bloggers were invited to a post-show reception with the musicians. My wife and I had a chance to chat with Lucas Richman, Jeffrey Biegel, Katy Wolfe Zahn and our neighbor Ihsan Kartal. We also spoke with my blogfather Rich Hailey and Lissa Kay as well as my friend Krisha Newport. We got to meet some other bloggers too including Byron Chesney, Craig Thomas, Tish McQueen and Doug McCaughan, who turns out to be one of the founding members of Einstein Simplified.

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Blogger Byron Chesney said...

Nice meeting you tonight Frank. Thanks for all the tips!

Anonymous Doug McCaughan said...

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Anonymous Mom said...

Hi Frank,

The concert program must have been wonderful. I, too, remember hearing some of the music that was played.
When you were about one month old Dad and I took you to Massachutes to hear a concert. The conductor was Surgi Oswa.(sp.)

Anonymous Tish said...

It was nice meeting you, Frank! And your review is excellent! I'm getting ready to write my post now. Have a great night!

Oh, and you should come out to the next blogfest. Rich is planning it as I type.


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