It seems to me that every other person, last week, had the flu.
(The other half, like me, cooked chicken soup and nursed the sick.) On
Wednesday afternoon I found out that the guest conductor, Robert Spano belonged to the first category. Result: PSO’s concertmaster, Andrés Cárdenes will take to the podium and two of the programmed pieces will be changed.
My first reaction was: "Poor Adams… this should have been a PSO premier… How long will it take to have Naive and Sentimental back on stage?" (I am still waiting for the performance of David Stock’s Cello Concerto which was not performed due to Harell’s illness. And this was 2 seasons ago…) My second reaction was: "Good for him"! (i.e. Andrés Cárdenes .) What a great opportunity!
I have regularly seen Cárdenes conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra but
this is different: It is a last minute change, the full orchestra and a
full house! I can just imagine the electricity in the hall on Friday
night… I attended the Saturday concert.
Not surprisingly, Cárdenes was greeted with more than
the usual applause when he appeared on stage. (A little voice in the
back of my mind: "so the critics loved him yesterday. Great." I must
admit: I do not read reviews; before or after concerts.) But what did
surprise me was how calm Cárdenes was. The PSO performed brilliantly! How blessed we are!!!
Now to the music:
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23
(originally in the program) is a favorite of mine and I have listened
to it time & and again, performed by different soloists for many
years. Still, a live concert adds to the magic. For me, the test lies
in the second movement: The pianist needs to draw me into the intimate
space of Mozart’s feelings and let me share his melancholy… Lars Vogt offered me this gift. For the duration of the Concerto Vogt and Mozart became one. Later, realizing that I was in the company of 2000 other listeners was the other side of the "magic coin".
Debussy’s Petite Suite (replacing Sibelius’s Two Tone Poems from Kalevala) was a charming & delightful opening (although I would always prefer Sibelius given the choice.) Dvorak’s powerful Symphony No.7 was a great finale.
As they say: "The show must go on." And it did!!!