Thursday, January 15, 2009

well behaved bloggers

Usually the musicians are already on stage when a performance of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra begins. Tonight the show opened Mariachi style. Eleven people walked out from the wings, the bass players, cellists and harpsichordist sat down but the violinists remained standing as they played Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major.

Maestro Lucas Richman made his first appearance of the night after the front part of the stage with the harpsichord was lowered and then raised again with a grand piano on it. Richman thanked the sponsors and welcomed those of us in the audience for the KSO's second blogger night. I suspect that most of the senior citizens in the audience heard "blah blahs, for those who don't know, are people who blah on the Internet."

Soloist Navah Perlman played Mozart's Concerto No. 24 in C Minor with the full symphony. I especially enjoyed the way the violins blended with her performance on the piano on the softer notes. As I listened, I wondered how she could play for 31 minutes without sheet music. Fortunately it was blogger night, so I could just ask her at the post-concert reception. She uses muscle memory and also remembers thoughts and smells that she encountered while learning the piece. She specifically mentioned remembering the smell of a chocolate cake baking while she practiced. Mmm.. cake.

The most accessible opus on the program, and therefore probably my favorite, was Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 in A Major. The first movement of the so-called "Italian Symphony" is very familiar. If I was flipping stations and happened to come across it on WUOT, I would turn up the volume and stay in my car until the end of the movement, even if I had reached my destination. During the performance Maestro Richman conducted the orchestra with his whole body. He bounced on his toes with a boyish enthusiasm that reminded me of my own childhood when I would pretend to conduct whatever symphony was coming from my father's record player. I like my classical music loud and fast. At the reception, the maestro told me that he was using his body to express the energy level he wanted from the musicians. He said that famous conductor Kurt Masur uses a lot of energy when rehearsing that piece but barely moves at all during performances of it.

My neighbor is a KSO musician. He was at the reception and we talked about firewood and how I saw him using his chainsaw the other day to cut logs. Another musician said I would be surprised how much stuff they do that is dangerous to their hands. This other guy once cut his finger pretty badly but was happy it happened to his bow hand. A female musician chimed in that she had cut off the tip of a finger but proudly showed how it was successfully reattached.

Navah Perlman was fighting a cold tonight. During our conversation we talked about ordinary stuff too. She could name a couple of grocery stores in each region of the country where she travels like Kroger and Piggly Wiggly in the south and Vons and Ralphs out west. A particular favorite of hers is Fred Meyer in the Northwest. The talk of travel turned to talk of her four kids. The last two are twins. She said if they had come first, she might have stopped right there. Navah's runny nose will not interfere with your enjoyment if you should go to Friday night's performance at the beautiful Tennessee Theatre.

It was a pleasure to chat with several fellow bloggers at the reception as well. Look for links to their reviews to be posted on the spiffy KSO blog soon. We should all try to put our own review links in each others' comment sections too.

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Anonymous Craig T. said...

It was good to see you again last night and really enjoyed the show. You can see my reviews HERE and HERE.

Blogger Angie said...

Frank, it was such a pleasure meeting you and your wife last night. I was glad to have "tagged along" with Mark. I do plan to blog about the concert, as well.

Blogger Jim Lee, Knoxville REALTOR said...

Hi, I think I missed meeting you at the reception. Hopefully next year.

Here's my link:

Blogger That Chick Over There said...

Frank, it was so nice to meet you. Jason was so impressed that you recognized me.

Here is the link to my post.

Blogger Angie said...

Got it done. . . here is my link:


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