Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra: making great music personal



the untrained ear

oh dear . . . what could I possibly say about beethoven's second?

November 13, 2012

This will be a tough one for me to write, folks. I’m gonna have to feel this one out as I go along. You may know that, as the Untrained Ear, I contribute to the LACO blog from the perspective of someone that knows diddly jack squat about classical music. I’ve been contributing to this blog for a few years now, and have certainly picked up a few things here and there by attending lots of fantastic LACO concerts, but at the moment, I’m faced with an entirely new predicament. I did some quick math, and this is my 51st LACO blog post… but the very first where I just don’t have what I’m going to say. gulp. double gulp.

I attended LACO’s Beethoven’s Second concert on Saturday night at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, and it was a perfectly lovely evening. But something didn’t click for me, as I sat there in the audience. The program had the elements that I usually respond very positively to: An exciting world premiere that was written expressly for LACO violin soloist Tereza Stanislav, a piece that was performed only by strings (Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings, Op. 47), and a classic in every sense of the word (Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2) that I should probably be familiar with but am not.

And yet… I don’t know. I tend to bring a curious nature to these concerts, and devote some energy to watching the musicians and picking out moments in the pieces that the program notes reference, but not the other night. I was content to relax, take in the beautiful music, and let my mind wander. First I thought about my long to-do list for Monday at the office. Then I thought about how much I didn’t get done today because I awoke to find that my car wouldn’t start, which meant no errands would be completed. Then my mind wandered further . . . to friends I haven’t talked to in awhile; and places I haven’t visited since I was a kid. I snapped back to attention a few times during tenser passages of the Elgar, and guest conductor (and world premiere composer) Benjamin Wallfisch led from the podium with a panache and a flourish that was fun to watch. But, at the end of the day, I don’t remember any of the pieces at all. I remember liking the Elgar the most, but for the life of me, I can’t articulate why. When it comes down to it, my memories of this LACO concert will probably be fuzzy at best.

But, at the same time, the concert did provide me a lovely escape from my life, and I’m realizing now that there’s actually great value in that. Thanks to my car, I wasn’t having the best of days, and it’s an incredibly busy time at work, and once I allowed myself to decompress from that, I actually got to experience memories that brought a smile to my face, and think of people that are dear to me that I don’t talk to enough . . . and the LACO concert facilitated all of that. It feels good to step away every so often, and it’s I’m grateful my evening at LACO gave me that opportunity.

Huh. Well, look at that! It turns out I had a little something to say after all!

1 comment

That smile on your face -- it's the magic of music. This may be your most meaningful blog post ever -- thanks!

  • —Nicolette, November 14, 2012 03:59 pm

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