Monday, February 11, 2013

ROMANTICISM AND THE ALLENTOWN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - "When words fail to describe, music takes over."


I think I should change the name of this blog to "Allentown Symphony Orchestra, Electric Type, and other deep thoughts without Jack Handey."  Readers would probably have a hard time remembering the full title, but accuracy must prevail!  The tagline would be:  "Do you like symphony orchestras?  Do you like techno cosmic adventurers?  How about references to 90's Saturday Night Live skits?  If you said yes to none of these, please don't keep reading, because you might know where I live."    On Saturday, I attended Miller Symphony Hall's Modern Romance concert.  Do not confuse modern romance with new romanticism.  This was not orchestral Depeche Mode.  Note to self - start arranging Depeche Mode pieces for orchestra.  

Stars of this concert - Robert Aldridge, Diane Wittry, David Singer, and Maurice Ravel.  Also not a sentence.  Let's start with Diane Wittry.  Before I forget, today's philosophical area is to extract on music's representation of love.  The first piece was by Alberto Ginastera, and Diane conducted the undead nightlights out of it.  Hmmmm, that joke doesn't really work.  Diane looked serene and almost predetermined in movement.  I believe she cultivates her chi from her love of these compositions.  I never saw Diane work like this.  After the performance I asked her what had changed in her life, because she was clearly still developing as a person and artist.  She had no concrete answer for me, but she did say that she felt moods will always make an enormous difference in every action/performance.  I swear that this mood was amorous.

Robert Aldridge wrote a clarinet concerto for his beloved fans and groupies.  He said a few words about the piece and mentioned that he intended to blend classical, jazz, and klezmer music.  The beginning melodies were kind of like "whoa, what does this mean?"  It started to come together in a cohesive manner.  This was much to the credit of David Singer, the soloist, and his romantic bond with his instrument.  The 3 genres hit you from different angles and often sounded simultaneously, but there was one moment where it became heavy klezmer (like indigenous heavy metal of Eastern Europe) out of nowhere.  Perhaps the transition was in the rests of certain instruments.  

I asked Aldridge about the heavy klezmer moment, and he said that he intended to make it shine in precisely the manner mentioned above.  There is nothing that I like to honor more than a composer accurately fulfilling his intentions.  I mentioned "groupies" earlier because Aldridge told me that the reason he became a composer/musician was "to get girls."  We laughed for a minute, and then I asked what the real reason was.  "To get girls was definitely part of it."  I told him to be careful on his quotes, but he reiterated at the end of our conversation that I should include the statement.  This may still apply to our theme - be it romance, love, or lust.  Lastly, Robert said something fascinating to me.  "When words fail to describe, music takes over."  He quickly grabbed our idea of modern romance for the night and shattered it into an individual atom.  I was impressed.

Maurice Ravel was the headliner.  I will not say much of this piece, because this is your mouth-watering cue to visit Miller Symphony Hall and hear these masterpieces for yourself.  I would like to mention that I almost fell out of my seat at one exact Ravellian moment.  There was a specific chord that felt like it was increasing the gravitational attraction (Orenda? - native tongue) between my body and the orchestra (as if it could be any stronger!).  It was pretty much the best 2-3 seconds of my life.  Well this was a success!  The audience won't be forgetting these musical exclamations in the name of love.  Adios.  Wait!  I almost forgot a 90's SNL reference.  How's this:  "What is Love?  Baby don't hurt me.  Don't hurt me no more."  Just insert mental images of shifty necks.  


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