I almost decided not to go to the symphony on Saturday night—my day was quite busy, and looking forward to everything I had to do, I decided I had no time to see the PSO perform their ‘Nordic Nights’ symphony. On Friday night, however, I realized I just couldn’t bring myself to miss the first symphony since before Christmas—and besides, the ‘show stopping trumpet concerto’ drew me like a bee to honey.
I was not disappointed in the least. My day was busy, yes, but as I sat in my seat and listened to the orchestra tuning up, my breath came out in a sigh and I felt myself relax in anticipation of a few hours of blissful music. And this show, headlined by ‘Peer Gynt,’ was well worth the trip into the frigid air.
began with a beautiful symphony by Carl Nielson, and though the second
half really stole the show in my mind, the lyrical Nielson piece was
also quite a treat. I am always interested in the conductor and love to
watch him or her and note his or her special style of conducting, but I
must admit that Arild Remmereit was my favorite conductor yet. His
enthusiasm was so obvious; he seemed, at points, to be conducting with
every part of his body that he could, as if his hands and arms did not
suffice for the important task at hand. And the music, while always
wonderful, seemed particularly stunning in his capable hands.
trumpet concerto truly was show stopping. Mr. Vosburgh looked so
unpretentious, but as soon as he put the trumpet to his lips the world
melted away and I felt as if I could listen to him for hours upon end.
If Hummel’s ‘Concerto in E major’ had gone on for days I don’t think I
would have complained. My father, who played brass for many years, had
such a look of appreciation and enjoyment on his face that I, too, was
thrilled by Mr. Vosburgh.
suite from ‘Peer Gynt’ was just as thrilling as the trumpet concerto,
although the sound was different from anything I’ve heard the PSO play
before. I can’t believe that Edvard Grieg disliked the play and didn’t
initially want to write the score, because his music is so rich with
meaning and life. I believe he only initially disliked writing
the music, and once he began he became more and more entangled in it,
liking it more and more, until he burst forth with ‘In the Hall of the
Mountain King.’ He must have felt those goblins pressing in vividly,
for by simply listening to his music I felt a chill run up my spine and
a desire to search the room for encroaching monsters.
my favorite piece of the whole evening was ‘Ase’s Death.’ Ase,
apparently, was Peer Gynt’s mother; I don’t know how she died, but I
could feel Peer Gynt’s grief in the weeping strings that grew quieter,
and quieter, and quieter…until finally, in heavy silence like that
surrounding a funeral, Mr. Remmereit lowered his baton.
musicians and Mr. Remmereit seemed to sense the audience’s thirst for
more, for they graced us with an encore—‘More goblin music,’ Mr.
Remmereit said jokingly. I think that everyone in the audience—young
and old alike—enjoyed having their fantasies, dreams, and even a little
edge of their nightmares performed for them in such a spectacular show.