The rhythm of modern life

Pre-concert program at Heinz Hall Grand Lobby This weekend Maestro Previn returned again to conduct the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and this time to conduct the premier of his own work. As a taste, we were treated to the Brass Quartet from Carnegie Mellon University performing some of Previn’s other work.

Listening to the opening of Previn’s Triple Concerto for Horn, Trumpet, Tuba and Orchestra immediately following Haydn’s Symphony No. 102, I was struck by a contract in feel. Haydn’s Symphony sounded smooth, peaceful, and gentle; almost bucolic. And compared to that the Triple Concerto was full of rhythmic brasses calling for attention along with a series of fanfares.

In many ways much like the many things that call for our attention in our modern, urban life. It had the same effect of the opening of American in Paris. I had in my mind the thought of a young person starting out in the world, with many things to call for his attention, time, and energy. The ups and downs of young adult life. And this was brought to a close with a rapid movement through the end, and then the piece was done. But it seemed to be a story in progress, because whatever was ahead for our friend, it is never the end of the story, only one more milestone of this thing called life, however momentous it may seem at the moment. And while the piece had an end, real life always has a continuation.

There are many commentators on how life has changed within memory. The speed of change, the need to adapt on an ongoing basis, and for the young, the tendency to treat immediate events out of proportion to their place in an ever-changing and on-going world.

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