Last night’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert wasn’t for me. It featured two pieces that I wasn’t that interested in hearing. The first was Shostakovich’s 15th Symphony, which received a lengthy, though interesting, introduction by Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. I really appreciate the effort he goes through to help audiences engage with the works he’s playing. It didn’t help me with this symphony, though. I’ve always felt that it was a a bit of an incomplete patchwork of a piece full of quotations that sound like they want to tell a story but don’t quite know what to say. I also think that the orchestration could be a bit more interesting in one direction or another. Last night’s performance made me feel like more attention was paid to certain parts than others, though I’m not entirely sure if it would be the fault of the composition or the performance. One bright spot were the soloists: most of them were excellent and truly a joy to hear. Continue reading →
I really liked Saturday’s concert by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. It began and ended with some decent Beethoven: the Leonore Overture No. 3 and his Symphony no. 6. I kind of got the feeling that Runnicles put a bit more thought into the latter than the former but I enjoyed both. I was in a bit of a weird mood, though, so my mind went to some rather strange and dark places in the sixth…a bit less pastoral than Beethoven’s music generally elicits. Continue reading →
I made it to Thursday’s pre-concert chamber recital program for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and took no notes at all. Then I went to see T. Lang’s dance piece at the High and, while waiting for it to start, I realized that much of it didn’t make enough of an impression to stick with me. The first piece was Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso arranged for two marimbas by ASO Principal Percussionist Joseph Petrasek. I remember thinking it interesting and then kind of getting bored with it, which is a shame because I generally love the timbre of marimbas, especially when played in duets, and I like the piece on piano. I did like the way that Petrasek and Michael Stubbart played together, though, and would enjoy hearing more marimba duets from them in the future. Continue reading →
Well, that was embarrassing. I found myself moved after Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra finished Mahler’s Symphony no. 10 (Cooke III version) so, naturally, I stood during the ovation. And nobody else did. And for some reason nothing was moving on the stage. And I sat down again, not entire sure that it was over, even though they’d come to the last pages of the score and I was certain that all of the movements had been played. And then some other people started standing and finally I got over myself and stood again only to feel a jolt shooting down my sciatic nerve. And then my knee started to get really sore. And I started worrying that I wouldn’t be able to walk to my car to go home. Thankfully, I stretch some and was able to walk out of there with everyone else. For some odd reason, my big toe on that side still hurts, but I’ve done some stretches at home now and everything seems fine. Fortunately, I have a chiropractic appointment for Monday. Yeesh! Anyway, clearly the lesson here is to have the courage of one’s convictions and not to back down so easily in the face of uncertainty. Continue reading →
As I was walking to my car from Memorial Hall last night, I overheard a couple of people talking about the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s concert. One said that she couldn’t remember his name, but that the conductor was English and she liked him.
Me: He’s Scottish and his name is Donald Runnicles.
Woman: He’s Scottish? Not English?
Woman: I like him even better! Continue reading →
There were two concerts for which I originally had tickets but did not attend; one of them was canceled due to weather and the other I decided to skip: they had the poor taste to tack some obnoxious gimmicks onto the performance that were created by two artists who clearly would have nothing of interest to say about the music. That would have detracted too much from the music for me to be able to enjoy myself so I figured that I’d exchange the ticket for one of the concerts that I’d originally not planned to attend. As such, even though I wasn’t excited about the program, I found myself at this evening’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert featuring all French composers under the baton of Donald Runnicles. Of the three pieces on the program, I really only wanted to hear one of them, but that one really made it worth it for me to bother with the trip to Symphony Hall. Continue reading →
Donald Runnicles opened this evening’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra program with the world premiere of a new piece by Marc Neikrug, “The Unicorn of Atlas Peak.” It is, apparently, named for a mutual acquaintance of Runnicles and Neikrug’s who, it seems, lives on Atlas Peak and may actually be a unicorn…or a guru…or just some dude whom they’ve both made up to hide the real way that they met, which probably involved some kind of scandalous intrigue or another. It began softly, with a kind of forced sense of mystery, and built up to something best described as meh. By the end it was completely uninteresting. It just never seemed to go anywhere nor to express anything meaningful. The parts that I found the most interesting seemed more like sketches of something that needs to be developed at a later time. It was not a strong start to the concert. Continue reading →
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