Sunday, February 18, 2007

All Consumming Passion

The North State Symphony gave a passionate performance in Chico today.  The musical selections were all based on love stories (February, Valentine's Day, etc.).

There was Don Juan, Tone Poem (Richard Strauss).  The story of Don Juan is full of passion, killing, and revenge.  I listened carefully to pick out the place in the piece where Don Juan goes to Hell.  I think I heard it - there was definitely hellfire in the music.

Then there was a Violin Concerto in D Major (Erick W. Korngold).  The soloist was quite impressive, and only 21 years old - David McCarroll.  I predict we will be hearing about him more in the future.  Korngold wrote music for movies in the 1930s and '40s.  (One of the movies he wrote for was "The Adventures of Robin Hood", which was filmed in our own Chico, CA.)  At times during this piece J was reminded of a BBC Mystery theme, and I was reminded of Copeland.  It was good.

Chico isn't a very sophisticated town - that's why I like it.  After the first movement of the Korngold piece there was enthusiastic applause for McCarroll and the orchestra.  That would never happen in Davies Hall in San Francisco.  Poor San Francisco.  (Why is it good to clap for a solo in jazz, but verboten between movements in classical?)

Then we heard Preludes to Acts I and III of La Triviata (Giuseppe Verdi).  More beautiful music on the theme of love lost.

Finally, there was the rousing Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein).  What fun!  And it looked like the musicians were paying attention and working hard.  The music was all familiar, but arranged differently that I had heard before.  Very good.

The next performance is in May, "Eroica" with Brahms and Beethoven.

The only complaint I have is Laxon Auditorium.  Today I could hear the air conditioning during softer moments in the music.  Geesh!  J's complaint is that she was sitting next to an 80-something man in desperate need of a shower.  I could smell him two seats away.

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