The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Bethany Hensel

The Good

* Guest pianist Stephen Hough. No offense to pianist everywhere, but given a choice, I'd rather watch a solo violinist before any other soloist. But I must admit, seeing Stephen Hough pound the keys during Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2, I think I'm going to have to drastically change my opinion on solo pianists. He was as visually fun to watch as he was perfectly stunning to listen to.

* Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2. Masterpiece. I really can't say anything more than that. The first movement was power itself. It started strong and never let up. The second movement: dark and twisty as Daedalus' labyrinth. It was impossible to predict where the next note would take you, which lent it an edge-of-your-seat quality usually reserved for Harlan Coben books.

*Mark Rohr's program note for Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5. Every time I open a program, I am impressed again and again with this guy's words. From one writer to another, I commend him on the way he can make the history of any concerto or symphonic piece as interesting as a Dan Brown novel. 

*Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5. I must admit though, my favorite movement was the Allegro giocoso. Talk about an ending.

 * The ovation for Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5. I'm not engaging in hyperbole when I say that the ovation the audience gave for this number was, auditorially speaking, like a hurricane. The wall of sound was immense, and considering it wasn't a full house, that's saying something.

 *The little sandwiches served during the intermission ‚Äì especially the roast beef ones. Made by the Common Plea restaurant, they're bite sized little pieces of heaven.

The Bad

* COUGHING! Especially during Stephen Hough's encore performance.

* Stephen Hough's encore performance. The way he played during the Piano Concerto was so sublime, so brilliant and full of fire, I was expecting bordering on the miraculous when he sat down at the piano for his encore. Instead, I got a slow, short (though still pretty nice sounding) mournful bit of encore. However, I must say, his playing of the piece was perfect.

The Ugly

* Penn and Liberty intersection. So many pedestrians. So much jaywalking. I think Cleveland has it right: they ticket any pedestrian who jaywalks. 🙂

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