A Visit to The Phoenix Symphony
Last night, The Roaming Boomers were the guests of Maryellen Gleason, President/CEO of The Phoenix Symphony, for their concert at the Phoenix Symphony Hall.
The concert featured Prokofiev’s popular Symphony No. 1 (“Classical”), John Adam’s Shaker Loops, and finished with Prokofiev’s legendary Peter and the Wolf accompanied with the 2008 stop-animation Oscar winning film of the same name.
The evening began with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1. Because I was raised in a small town, there is something deep in my DNA that expects to cringe when I hear an orchestra because of their lack of a common pitch. There was certainly none of that here, and therefore I was able to relax and enjoy the performance.
When this first piece finished, I was left with a stunning example of the professionalism, and the certain skill of these musicians. I was very impressed with the clarity, and oneness of sound during some of the lighting fast arpeggios displayed in the string section. A lesser orchestra would have made certain mud of these sections. Bravo!
I brought to the second piece, John Adam’s Shaker Loops, a confident expectation of dreariness.
When I was in college, I remember making some “modern” music with my fellow musicians. We pretended to be John Cage and flushed toilets, made all sorts of silly sounds, ran them through a synthesizer, and called it music.
I was very surprised to hear that John Adams piece was nothing like that. As I was sitting there letting my ears explore this completely new sound landscape, I began to dream about how I would try to explain this piece to you in words.
The only thing that came to mind was that I was somehow exploring far away galaxies, ablaze with all the color, and highly unusual sights that the Hubble Telescope brings to us. Only here, these brilliant new sights were being delivered to me in sound.
My expectation of dreariness was turned 180º into child-like wonder. I found myself wishing that I could somehow get inside the sound so that I might better hear and experience it.
As it turns out, this was my favorite piece of the night because it was completely new to me. I love exploring new things!
After intermission, we were treated to the evening’s main event: Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf conducted to the 2008 Oscar winning stop-animation film of the same name.
What a joyous experience! Married to Prokofiev’s brilliant score was a visual experience that had the audience often rolling in laughter. There was also a great gasp uttered when the big bad wolf gulped down the defenseless duck.
Overall, this was a most delightful evening. If I possessed 10 thumbs, I would give them 10 thumbs up.
If you are visiting the Greater Phoenix Area during the symphony’s concert season, I would highly recommend you enjoy an evening with them. You will be glad you did.
Thank you Maryellen Gleason, Conductor Michael Christie, and The Phoenix Symphony, for a most wonderful evening out!