as ye sow…
HINDEMITH Overture to Neues vom Tage
FRIEDMAN Sacred Heart: Explosion
BERLIOZ Harold in Italy
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
All-Access Chamber Series
Eugene Izotov, oboe
John Bruce Yeh, clarinet
Albert Igolnikov, violin
Paul Phillips Jr., violin
Robert Swan, viola
John Sharp, cello
Michael Hovnanian, bass
Mozart Oboe Quartet
Prokofiev Quintet, Op. 39
Brahms Clarinet Quintet
Dvorak Slavonic Dance in E Minor, Op. 72, No. 2
1:30-3:30 Prokofiev quintet rehearsal
10-12:30 1:30-3:30 rehearsals
3:30-6 Prokofiev quintet rehearsal
2 All-Access Chamber Series concert
7:30 Ars Viva Benefit
(Week 38 was last week. I’m now on vacation.)
After Sunday the orchestra is on vacation until the Ravinia summer season begins in July. Usually we have our main vacation after Ravinia, in August and September, but this year we leave for a European tour on September 1st. Also, Ravinia doesn’t seem to want our orchestra on their property before the 4th of July, even with the dreaded cicadas back in the earth for another seventeen years.
Zuckerman takes nonchalant stage presence and casual concert dress to new levels – whether those are highs or lows is a matter of taste. His performance probably suffered as much as it benefited from its flawlessness. The fact he is able to play with such power lets the orchestra get a bit lazy with our soft dynamics, but that is nothing new. Slatkin safely lead us from the first to last measure of each piece on the program without incident, or much excitement for that matter.
A spirited group performed the Prokofiev Quintet on Saturday. Last week I played the Trout Quintet, so for a few days I maintained the fantasy of playing a real musical instrument with an actual repertoire, but all of that can go back on the shelf again now for another year or so.
Along with our impending vacation, Jefferson Friedman’s Sacred Heart: Explosion generated a fair amount interest among musicians this week. Enthusiastic audience reaction to the piece confounded much of the usual grumbling about new music. Once again, the audience seemed more open minded than the musicians.
Sacred Heart: Explosion, the piece, is based on a painting of the same name by ‘outsider’ artist Henry Darger. Quite coincidentally, Darger lived a couple of miles away from where I’m sitting right now. Darger’s life and work got me thinking of the fragile, sometimes deeply personal nature of the creative process. From time to time I wonder if the atmosphere where new or merely unfamiliar works are subjected to immediate (and more than occasionally mean-spirited) condemnation is really in the best interest of our art form. Certainly, there are those who really do wish to stamp out anything not yet completely fossilized. Others often complain, “How come nobody writes anything good for us to play?” Those remind me of the anal-retentive type gardener, the fellow who meticulously clears the ground, spreads his pesticides, plucks every sprig that pokes its head above ground, saying “Aha! Weed!” and then, one day, looks around and laments “How come there’s nothing growing here?”