This weekend my wife and I went to the Sunday concert and decided to have lunch before the concert on the Strip. And the most obvious thing about a Sunday afternoon on the Strip, is there is a Steelers home game! All around there was Black and Gold. On the sidewalks, in the stores, in the coffeehouse and in the restaurants, waiting for the late afternoon game against the Giants. It was a lot of fun to see the Strip alive on a weekend.
We wanted to try something new so we went to the Chicken Latino (ok, our first four choices were packed with hungry Steeler fans.) And something completely different, we had their Peruvian rotisserie style chicken while getting Clover-brewed coffee from 21st Street Coffee across the street. We knew we were in for a treat when we were looking at the selection of tabasco sauces on the counter and the guy there asked "do you like things spicy" as he reached back for "This is our hot sauce. You'll like it." And we did! A different variety of seasonings in the chicken, and the sauce was wonderful to our jaded taste buds (I'm Thai. We have standards before admiting something is spicy.) And I've long learned to appreciate Clover brewed coffee at 21st Street, even the new ones as they have switched their selection of beans (I liked the Ethiopean coffee I had.)
The soloist for the concert was Arabella Steinbacher. Unlike many of the soloists, she was not from an American school, but from Europe, and I was curious if it made a difference.
The piece was Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch. During the concert pre-talk, we learned that Bruch never actually went to Scotland, the piece was composed after researching Scottish folk songs in the library. Being a researcher by trade who values on the ground fact checking, I had to groan at that.
The piece lended itself to very different interaction between soloist and orchestra than the soloists we have had before. While we have gotten used to virtuosi impressing us with their talent and emotion in cadenza, Ms. Steinbacher's strength was the balance with the orchestra. Sometimes the soloist was a secondary theme, weaving with the piece, sometimes the solo rose above the rest of the orchestra holding the audience at attention with the melodies. While I appreciate the raw talent that the soloists who play with the PSO have, I love listening to artists work together. As conductor, Janowski did a wonderful job working with that.
A different soloist, and a day for discovery in the Strip and at the Symphony.