Saturday, October 16, 2010

The season's first 'Abo'

Today was the first of our subscription concerts for this season, and it was a pleasant surprise. We do ten "Abo" concert weekends (the German word for subscription = "Abonnement") every season. The concerts are always on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, and the wait time to get tickets is well over a decade. This is the Philharmonic's 152nd subscription season. What a history!

This weekend's concerts are the beginning of a big block that will eventually take us on tour in a couple weeks to Rome and Japan. The whole block was originally supposed to be conducted by Seiji Ozawa, but for health reasons he had to drop out. He was replaced with Essa-Pekka Salonen, but just six days before we started rehearsals he had to drop out as well, citing personal reasons. So...we were left scrambling for a conductor at the last minute, and in stepped the young conductor of the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra, Columbian native Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

The concert began with a Mendelssohn concert overture called Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, in which I played the part originally written for the serpent. It's basically a bass part, but I did my best to make it as serpent-y as possible. Don't know what a serpent is? Here's an article.

The highlight of today's concert for me was our final piece, Dvořák's Symphony No. 7 in D Minor. I had never played it before, and had only really heard a recording once or twice, but I really fell in love with it today. As with the 9th Symphony that we played throughout last month, the 7th has some really great sweeping melodies and an exhilarating scherzo and finale. Orozco-Estrada really knows the piece and conducted quite well, and both the colleagues and the audience were very appreciative. Dietmar and I both said afterwards that it is a shame the piece isn't played more often.

1 comment:

  1. I think that it would have been much more fun actually playing the part on the serpent! What a cool looking instrument!