I’m going to miss Joan Tower’s appearances at Heinz Hall to introduce her music. I’ve hear 4 or 5 of her compositions this season, and each one is fascinating in its own way.
As I mentioned in another blog post, the composition I liked most was ‘Sequoia’, which she wrote 30 years ago, and is by far the longer, but not necessarily more dynamic. All of her pieces are interesting, and after hearing ‘Stroke’ I find it to be the most dramatic, probably because of the way it fits so well to the subject matter.
This weekend last she introduced ‘Stroke’ which she dedicated to her brother who had a stroke. Apparently he was able to virtually attend this concert, because she indicated that the PSO arranged for it to be ‘Skyped’ to him. Technology can be an amazing and wonderful thing.
This composition, as well as the ‘Sequoia’, was able to capture the metaphorical musical representation of the phenomena she was attempting to portray. It was a bit of a scary journey, and the PSO handled the composition well. Just as Sequoia made be feel the vertical height and breadth of the massive tree, Stroke gave me a sense of the terrible debilitating effect.
Of all her compositions, Joan Tower indicated that Sequoia was the most difficult, and almost apologized for it to the orchestra members, way during the introduction. This was her last appearance this season with the orchestra.
As I said, I liked Joan Tower, and will miss her. She seems to be a down to Earth person, and at the same time we’ve seen the genius in her compositions. What a great combination.
Hélène Grimaud has a great smile, and great hands. Really, to see her hands range up and down the piano, and to hear that beautiful music with the fabulous Mozart concerto no. 23, was a real treat. I took photos of her at intermission, and with every person she beamed a beautiful smile, it was infectious. My only regret was that I didn’t get in line to get an autograph myself, because the line was too long and I’d miss the second half of the program. I hope the PSO has her back again.
One more reason I like Hélène Grimaud — her fascination with nature and wolves: “Wolves are like most wild creatures,” Grimaud says. “They want to be left alone.” I can relate to that myself with my frequent trips to nature, with only my camera in tow. At the Westmoreland Conservancy in Murrysville, the signs sometimes say: ‘Leave only footprints, take only pictures’…