Last night was a bit of a strange concert, at least speaking for myself from my vantage point on the stage. First of all, there was the sobering sight of empty seats in the hall – lots of them. It’s not as though this is a strange program – Brahms d minor piano concerto is hardly a dark horse, and the Bartók Divertimento, while it suffers from having the composer’s name printed in the program (some concert goers just turn on their heel and walk out if they even read the name Bartók), is just about as easy going and accessible as Bartók can be. The Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody is just a lot of fun to play and to listen to, so I’m perplexed. Oh, and Jon Kimura Parker is an amazing pianist by anyone’s estimation, and I’m always amazed when he doesn’t fill halls like a couple of other big names manage to do. Now we have a pretty thumbs-down review from David Stabler to round out the opening night. I’m not sure quite what this was all about, except that last night’s concert started out with a performance of the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in honor of Bob McClung, who passed away last week, who was our beloved stage manager. I think that performance took a lot of our energy and focus, both from the musicians and from Carlos, I think, and so the Brahms suffered somewhat in terms of drive and clarity (at least from the point of view of the orchestra’s performance, not the soloist’s). Well, we’ll see what tonight’s performance brings – hope to see you there (with a lot of your friends).
By the way – if you know someone who went last night – harass them for their ticket stub, it’ll get you in free if you exchange it for a new ticket within two hours before the start of the concert!