I have so much to chat about, I barely know where to start. Firstly, I had never attended a PSO event on a weekday before I saw a Thursday performance of “Firebird.” It felt deliciously naughty, like I was skipping school. I highly recommend it—it’s thrilling and it packs a different flavor than the evening performances. My favorite non-performance part of the afternoon-time show: there were peanut butter sandwiches. Enough said.
“Firebird” was amazing. I’d been looking forward to this performance for months and it did not disappoint. “Firebird” was an extravaganza of surprising musical drama…and I love, love, love some good, meaty drama. Imagine this: a perilous quest, a precarious love and of course, a monster. “Firebird” had all of the above in lush musical narrative form, and then some. I felt as though I had been completely enchanted by the end.
And then there was Nicola Benedetti. The sparks that flew from her violin almost blinded me, though it surely would have been a small price to pay for the amazing musical wonder that I was witnessing. I don’t usually become overly weepy during concerts, but I was downright teary-eyed during her performance. As far as musicians are concerned, I’ve been fortunate enough to see the best of the best at the PSO…and my friends, Ms. Benedetti is definitely among the very best. How she did what she did, I will never understand consciously. She struck a musical arrow through my soul and forced me to feel the emotion of the composition as deeply as she did. She was a conduit of musical expression.
By the way, the 2011-2012 PSO season looks amazing. And speaking of extravaganzas, there is going to a Beethoven fest this fall, which I love! Next season also marks the return of several fabulous talents, including Gabriela Montero, Sarah Chang and…Joshua Bell (insert high-pitched, girlish squeal here). Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances should be a fun time; additionally, Manfred Honeck will again conduct Handel’s Messiah, much to my delight. If I haven’t mentioned this before, Joshua Bell will be returning, as well. Not that I’m excited for that, or anything.