Red and White – Louis Luangkesorn

The beginning of a season.  At the end of a tiring week.  We arrived at Heinz Hall to the sight of red and white balloons and a crowd looking forward to hearing their orchestra after reading of their european performances.  And it showed from even the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, which was accompanied by the audience singing with more relish than any baseball game crowd I can remember.

The pieces were, frankly, fun to listen to.  Starting with the opening flair of Kodaly’s Hary Janos, this had the mood of something light to start the evening.  And it was enjoyable to listen to the juxtaposition of the seriousness of the march of Napolean by the brass, followed by winds and strings in their much less than serious response, made the more obvious by the sight of Tortelier dancing on the podium while conducting (so that is why that bar is there!)

This and the Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade provided examples of why I have so enjoyed symphonies over the years.  Yes, I can appreciate the virtuoso of a soloist, but the interweaving of parts holds my attention.  To listen to the solo violin interweave with harp, wind, other strings and brass in turn, each taking the theme and playing along it.  And listening to this live, where the parts can be heard speaking amongst each other from their points on the stage was something I could loose myself in.

I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for 2 1/2 years now, and one of the things I’ve appreciated is how close I’ve been able to get to the music and in small ways participate in it.  From cross-cultural combinations of instrumentation to a gallery that has a mission of bringing to the region a wider variety of forms of art, I’ve enjoyed listening to those who have made bringing the arts to this region a goal of their life. And for the opportunity to sometimes talk back, and take part in that conversation myself.

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