Friday, January 17, 2014

Papa, Wolfie, and Ludwig

The Baltimore Symphony's program at the Strathmore last night (which repeats tonight and tomorrow in Baltimore) advertised Mozart and Beethoven, omitting the opening presentation of a bright little symphony by Franz Joseph "Papa" Haydn.

And of course the headliner for the program was pianist Jeremy Denk on Mozart's 25th Piano Concerto. Jeremy stayed to sign CDs during intermission, but he didn't seem to have any with Mozart on them. It looks like he is more of a Bach specialist, which I thought curious for a Mozart moment.

Jeremy Denk signs CDs and chats with audience following his performance.
Credit: Photo by C. G. Wagner
But what I saw was a man wonderfully at home on the keyboard. He played Mozart like a toy! What a thrill!

Before the show, since I had a lot of time after making some ticket exchanges (OMG MICHAEL BOLTON!!!), I was reading the notes describing the program selections. There was so much anthropomorphizing, I thought there has to be a better way to describe it. But truthfully, music is a human art, it evokes emotions, so I guess it's only natural to describe notes that trip and chase and march and do other humanly things. I visualize country scenes, grand ballrooms, children or animals running around and what-not. It's like running a ballet in my mind.

Sample grab from the Program Notes for the Haydn piece (Symphony No. 30 in C Major, "Alleluia"):
In G major, movement two is a stately, well-bred charmer, prancing on dainty dotted-rhythm shoes.
Yeah, I guess this writer saw dancing, too. "Dainty"?

Anyway, since I don't really share that kind of vocabulary, I don't have too much to say about the program. I loved the Hadyn piece because it was so bright and joyful. Mozart was continued after the intermission with the Bassoon Concerto in B-flat Major, featuring one of BSO's own musicians, Fei Xie. I loved that the guy had fans (probably family) in the audience--when he came out for his bow, a mommy carried a little bouquet-bearing tyke up to the front of the stage to present to the bassoon soloist. It was such an awww moment.

The evening concluded with a Beethoven symphony. I forgot the number--not fifth or ninth, that's all I know. [It was No. 8 in F Major. ~h.] Not a Beethoven fan here. The evening's selections seemed to be in chronological order, going from Papa Haydn's bright grandeur, flowing to Mozart's bright complexity, and ending with pre-Romantic heaviosity. It was well-played, but I preferred my music brightly lit.

Love, hosaa
will fill in gaps later - I'm on my lunch break.

eta, later that same day ... adding a few graphic and descriptive embellishments. ~h

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