Ah, Gershwin. You make me want to put on my Sunday clothes and audition for local theater. Gershwin’s pieces are so unmistakable and unique—when it’s Gershwin that you’re listening to, you know it. The music is infectious and sprightly, usually a tangy little mix of flair and lighthearted joy. It is energy in musical form; it made my heart sing, as only the symphony and Gershwin can. Gabriela Montero and the symphony complemented each other brilliantly.
Montero’s musical arsenal was loaded with magic on Saturday night. The sage little pianist learned—quickly—that the surest way to Pittsburgh’s heart is through its Super Bowl-bound Steelers. Montero dazzled Saturday’s audience with an inspiring, impromptu rendition of “Here We Go Steelers.” Montero’s version was a far cry from the way I usually listen to it—slightly muffled by black and gold fuzzy earmuffs and a beer haze so thick, it requires a sledge hammer to crack it.
That she was able to pluck out the melody after listening to the audience “sing” it speaks to Montero’s extraordinary talent. From the simple “Here We Go” tune, Montero waved her magic wand and created a lavishly eloquent musical work of art; it truly would have made even the toughest of Steeler fans wipe his eye with the sacred Terrible Towel.
And the surprises kept coming…Montero, and three other PSO musicians, performed “Air and Simple Gifts” from the presidential inauguration. It was extremely moving. The music signified the history that our country had witnessed this past week. No matter which side of aisle one might reside, the experience brought back the historic inauguration with vitality and flair. Saturday’s performance truly encapsulated the ubiquitous excitement of political change and Super Bowl fever.
The improv was such a unique treat…I enjoyed every minute of the performance. I can’t wait to see what the symphony has in store for forthcoming performances…