Monday, August 08, 2005

Court side seating

Last Friday I attended the Mostly Mozart concert at Lincoln Center. Here are the program notes.

I always love going to Lincoln Center and this time was no exception. I had the coolest seat in the house:

I was seated where that arrow is pointing to. Smack in the middle of the first row of seats behind the orchestra. I know it's not the best seat from an acoustic standpoint. But it IS the best seat from a frustrated amateur musician standpoint. This was the closest I will probably ever get to actually PLAYING at Lincoln Center. I mean I was actually ON the original stage facing the audience, under all the lights and those acoustic or whatever rings on the ceiling. And don't forget that it was due to my first "behind the orchestra" experience that I resolved to play in one some day. So you can only imagine how excited I was the entire time I was there! I had been thinking all along that I had gotten seats on the side. When they ushered me into that front row I was in shock! I wanted to cry and smile and laugh and talk all at the same time.

The back row musicians (bassoons, clarinets, and French horns) were all very friendly. The second bassoonist would always turn around and bow to us as well as to the audience up front. The first clarinetist had conversations with several audience members before the show started and during intermission. And during the stage changes the double bassists would stand in front of us to get out of the way of the moving piano and harp. I spoke to the female bassist (Judith Sugarman) during every break. Everyone was so nice and interesting to talk to!

The program:
Ravel - Ma mère l’oye Suite (“Mother Goose Suite”)
Mozart - Flute and Harp Concerto in C major, K.299
Ravel - Piano Concerto in G major
Mozart - Symphony No. 31 in D major, K.297 (“Paris”)

I went primarily for Mother Goose (lots of interesting oboe and EH lines) and the Mozart symphony but was pleasantly surprised by the Ravel Piano Concerto. It ended up being my favorite. I didn't realize that I had actually heard it before. It's such a fun, energetic piece. And it did remind me quite a lot of another favorite piece of mine, Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue".

I was so close to the musicians that I could almost read the first bassonist's sheet music. He had a VERY crazy passage at the end of the Ravel concerto. I was in awe! And apparently his colleagues were happy for him too because he got a lot of pats on the back after that (as did both clarinetists who were quite busy throughout). Jane Cochran played some very beautiful English Horn for both Ravel pieces.

I left the concert feeling very elated and energized. I just wish I had someone to share all my feelings with in person sometimes. I wanted to stay in my seat and go over the concert with other music lovers. I wanted to tell all the soloists that they did very well. I guess that will all have to wait until the day I finally get into some (local) orchestra somewhere. I can't imagine how satisfying it will be to actually be making that music instead of being just a spectator. Then I'll finally be able to talk to people who understand why Oboe and EH solos make my eyes tear up.


Waterfall said...

WOW. How exciting!!! When I saw the arrow, at first I thought you meant that you were PLAYING at Lincoln Center. Maybe someday?

I remember seeing Emmanuel Ax perform at the Brevard Music Center last summer. My dad bought my ticket as a gift, and got it right-smack in the front row, to the left of the stage, so I could watch Ax's hands. Before the concert, I was disappointed because I know it wasn't the greatest seat, acoustically. But, as it turns out, it really WAS the best seat in the house for a frustrated amateur pianist ... so I know just how you feel. :)

Hilda said...

Haha! I too had my doubts when all I seemed to be hearing was clarinets and French horns, but it turned out to be a very interesting concert.

dulciana said...

What an amazing experience that must have been! It must have been lots of fun to get to talk with the musicians.

Hilda said...

Yep. It was nice to see that they were excited too. The Mostly Mozart players seem more laid back and happy than the regular NY Phil crowd. I guess there's less pressure or something.

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