A Grand Finale: “From the Intntimate to the Expansive on a Train Ride!” – Naomi Yoran

Are you in the habit of reading the last chapter of a book before you
get there? I know that most readers will argue that it spoils the
"magic of the narative" and I will agree as long as we are talking
about a novel. When it comes to non-fiction, my usual order of reading
starts with the first chapter followed by the last and then the rest of
the book including the last chapter once more. I find it a pleasure to
read the last chapter twice. I can get into a long explanation of the
merit of this reading habit but I will leave it for another occasion.

What does it have to do with live music?

Last Saturday I attended the last concert of this season and thought again about the "art of putting together a season program". I mentioned in the past Bob Moir, the Artistic Planner of the PSO
and his great stories of challenges, frustrations, comical situations
& last minute improvisations which are part & parcel of his
"Job".  I would love to "shadow" him and experience this "artistic
puzzle making". One thing is for sure: The first & the last
concerts must have unique features. Like the first chapter in a good
book, the first concert will invite me to continue "reading" and the
last concert will leave me with a strong anticipation for the next book
by the same author.

The Grand opening of the season brought out the conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos with Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. A musical contrast spanning almost 200 years, conducted by a "bigger than life" personality. Bravo to Chapter One! (Remember? there was even a prelude = literary forward: the PSO playing 6 pieces spanning the spectrum of classical music with Sir Andrew Davis & Yo-Yo Ma )

Live music does not afford me "jumping to the last chapter" but I
was "hooked". (well, I have season tickets…) but I am sure that many
occasional listeners came back "to the book". What I did do, I checked
out the last concert program for the season and was a little surprised
by the selection. Somehow Higdon, Chopin & Brahms had little to do with each other… What kind of a grand Finale is that?  Still, I felt that my "theory holds water". Sir Andrew Davis & Lang Lang belong to the "concluding chapter category".

And so, knowing the start & the finish, I was in an anticipating, curious mood for the PSO 2005-2006 Season.
I was given the opportunity to blog about these concerts and I did so
with great pleasure. (finally, I could put on "virtual paper" my
observations & associations following each performance. What a
privilege!)

Last Saturday the "book came to its end". The last chapter, it turned out was worthy of the "PSO BOOK"! There was new & familiar, contemporary & "classical Classic", intimate and expansive!

Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2, one of the most intimate
concertos that I know, almost felt like a private confession of a most
delicate soul. It was contrasted with the sumptuous Symphony No. 4 by Brahms. Thank goodness for the intermission! The surprise, however, was Higdon’s Loco. A short, fast moving & a bit stormy "locomotive" coming from nowere to disturb "my peace"… Lang Lang’s magical fingers played homage to Chopin and brought back old memories of this unique, sad composer whom I love to no end…

By the conclusion of the concert, with the PSO playing an Elgar encore (to compliment Lang Lang’s Chinese encore…), I grasped the full narrative of this

Ggrand Finale, which in a way was a metaphor to the whole season: "From the intimate to the expansive on a train ride". It was a great ride indeed!

Bravo Maestro! Bravo to the PSO, their conductors & soloists!

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Jun 7