Friday, December 16, 2011

November 13th, 2011 - RETROSPECTIVELY RED


Please pardon my absence from the written word. I assure you that I was speaking it regularly. I return to you with another delightful review of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. This concert was titled “The Return of the Red Violin.” The humorous aspect about the title is the fact that I overlooked it. Many of us are familiar with the movie that was inspired by this object of pleasure. I was enormously excited to hear Rory Lipkis' new work on the program. Because of this, I was negligent to the remaining pieces. Just before I started writing this article, I was informed that I heard the famous Red Violin yesterday. In retrospect, it sounded pretty awesome. Granting my ignorance, I would like to explain my reaction to the concert.

The first piece of the concert was Caprice by Rory Lipkis. Rory is the 14-year-old son of local composer Larry Lipkis. Rory gave me an introductory melody that was conservatively bad-ass. Tonality came out as a mixture of different centuries in European art music. Throughout the piece, the audience experienced a multitude of melodies that had familiar qualities. Rory has clear appreciation of the styles of several legendary composers. The orchestra sounded as if they were giving an extremely accurate performance of the source material and I think that Rory's face agreed with me. For the future, I hope to see young Lipkis break more of the standard conventions in orchestral music but aside from that, I have no real complaints with his piece. Battle on Rory, battle on.

Secondly, Sergei Prokofiev decided to show his face in the form of a giant, towering woman. Elizabeth Pitcairn was the star of this show (supposedly). Her playing was great and may have only sounded sweeter if I was aware that she was playing the world's most famous violin. I think that I was just reasonably disinterested in the particular violin concerto by Prokofiev. If the question “How much less could this piece have affected you Sir Orenda?” was presented, the answer would be “None. None less effective.” Must I admit the hyperbole?

“Johannes Brahms!” That is precisely what I would expect two young children to exclaim if a dirty old man with a piano crashed into their kitchen in the 21st century. I never could decide how I felt about Johannes. The orchestra played his 3rd Symphony in F major. This was not the first performance of this piece that I have witnessed, nor will it be the last. “The True Heir to Beethoven” finally got me. I loved this performance. Brahms showed himself inside and out with his concepts and ideology surfacing from the secret rooms of his brain. I know, that's a mouthful even if you are Hannibal Lecter. You win this round J. Brahms. But just you wait until your dead ears hear my upcoming orchestral work. Just you fucking wait. I say that facetiously. I actually respect you very much.

-Final Zone

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