Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal

LACO newbie

thoughts from the balcony

April 19, 2009

Holy Euphonium! Has it really been 2 months since I last blogged? It has! It’s also been 2 months since I went to a LACO concert, and, as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ll start by saying that one thing I really enjoyed last night was watching the conductor, Joana Carneiro. She was an energetic and animated presence on the stage. She was jumping and swooping and turning all over her platform with an enthusiasm quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Her enthusiasm seemed downright contagious – if only I wasn’t 100 feet away in the balcony!

Seriously, though, our balcony seats were quite lovely, and we could see every musician all concert long, and I recommend sitting up there. Sidebar: During the intermission, when I was stretching my legs, I noticed what could be the worst seat in the house at the Alex Theater. I went and sat in it, and it was instantly confirmed. You face a wall, and if you contort your head, you can see a partial view of the stage. So consider this the public service message part of this blog: Avoid Balcony, Row E, seat 30 at all costs. I don’t think the seats directly behind it, in rows F and G, are any better, and I bet on the other side of the auditorium, the same conditions exist. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Let’s move on to what I thought was the most thrilling piece of the evening, Ravel’s Concerto in G Major. And I don’t exaggerate when I use the word thrilling, because it really was, and that’s what I loved about it. The mood and tempo shifted, often abruptly, from somber to playful to eerie and back. The second movement started with a lovely piano solo by the guest artist, David Fung, and the orchestra joined him, it turned in an almost sinister fashion. I don’t normally think of classical music as suspenseful, and I suspect many of you don’t as well, but man oh man, during this performance, while I had bought the whole seat, I only needed the edge.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I haven’t always been as engaged during the second half of LACO concerts, and I have the same thing to report after this concert. I began wondering, during the second half, if it’s me. Does my attention span have a limit when it comes to classical music? Because after a certain amount of time (about an hour, it seems), I just can’t manage to stay tuned in. My mind starts wandering, I lose track of what movement they’re in, and I don’t think the music even registers with me. Am I alone in this? Any thoughts, music-loving readers? How can I overcome this?

One of the places my mind wandered, for no discernable reason: If a twin can refer to their sibling as a twin sister or twin brother, what do triplets refer to each other as? Just sister or brother? What about quads, quints, and Octomom’s brood?

Oh – so last week I had the pleasure of going to an advanced screening of “Earth,” the new Disney nature documentary that’s getting released on Tuesday (Earth Day), and I didn’t care for it much – and, in my next blog, I’ll tell you why (hint: a big part of it was the music).

1 comment

I share you enthusiasm for the Revel piece. I like to think of great music and great performances as recharging the soul, recharging the batteries. I can honestly say that David Fung and LACO's preformance this weekend aided in this fulfillment.

  • —Anna Lee, April 21, 2009 03:59 pm

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