SPCO – Introducing Patricia Kopatchinskaja

So this is my first blog in a while. But after tonight’s concert, the first for Patricia Kopatchinskaja as an Artistic Partner for the SPCO, I had to share my thoughts. First things, if you don’t have tickets to the concert, check right now because there weren’t many left. Much of the same program will be played next week too.

Now Patricia Kopatchinskaja was a workhorse tonight.  She performed in each piece and was soloist in a number of them.  Not only that, but she changed from a more traditional black outfit, blending in with the musicians of the orchestra, to a red soloist dress during the 20 minute intermission.

For the first half of the program we had Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue.  During this piece, it seemed like Patricia Kopatchinskaja wasn’t a very animated player, but that was soon to be proven wrong.  The piece was very nicely played, and not particularly notable.

The second piece was Tigran Mansurian’s Concerto No. 2 for Violin and String Orchestra, Four Serious S0ngs.  During this piece Patricia Kopatchinskaja was director and played solo violin.  This is where I learned that she was very animated and played with great passion and gusto.  It was very interesting music which I enjoyed greatly.

The third piece, and last before intermission was Romanian Folk Dances by Bela Bartok.  You can hear the folk music influence quite clearly, and this is fun music to listen to, in fact if you want to just listen to a recording in the SPCO listening library.  Some of the solo violin makes me think of Klezmer music.

After intermission the next piece was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in D Minor (change in program order).  I don’t think I have heard this live before, and looking at their notes the SPCO last performed it in 1999, which is before I became a some what obsessive concert goer.  I really liked this piece and I though she played it really well.

The next piece Traditional Moldavian Folk music titled Rapsodia.  Patricia Kopatchinskaja described the program from the stage, and it consisted of three parts or songs.  The instrumentation for these parts were Patricia on violin, her mother Emilia Kopatchinskaja on violin and viola, her father Viktor Kopatchinsky on cimbalom (he also played cimbalom on the Bartok Dances), and Zachary Cohen on double bass (guest principal bass for SPCO this season).  Now for the first, it was described as being crazy, because at one point it was just her parents playing, and her father was playing the cimbalon (reminds me of a hammered dulcimer) really fast, while her mother was playing the viola really slow.  I think it was in this piece that mother and daughter were playing really close face to face, and it was great seeing that family and musical connection. The third part had the sitting string musicians (rest of the program was just strings with some solo violin and/or cimbalom) joining in with really high notes sounding kind of eerie.  That part was more fun to see them join in, than enjoyable.  But all three parts were great, and well received by the audience.  I would guess that this was a pretty knowledgeable crowd, one that would normally wait to applause at the end of all three parts, rather than in between, but they and I couldn’t help but show our appreciation after each piece.  Also her parents are amazing musicians in their own right, I can imagine family gatherings are full of music and joy.

We also got a world premiere surprise (not on program).  A piece for Ravel was arranged for solo violin, cimbalom, and strings, I assume for this concert and definitely for this family.  It started with a long section for solo violin, I think about 6 minutes before string and cimbalom joined in.  It was a nice piece but I enjoyed the Mendelssohn and folk based music better.

Overall, this was an outstanding concert, and I am looking forward to seeing her play with the SPCO again in March.  A couple of things I noticed about her playing, she plays barefoot, which isn’t that unusual, but she also gets so animated that she some times stomps her feet.  I think if I saw her perform up close, which sadly will not happen, that it could be distracting like Emmanuel Ax’s humming.

Here is a youtube clip of the family playing a part of Raspodia

-Josh

Can’t wait for the new season of the SPCO

I just received my season tickets for the 2009-2010 for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Some of the highlights for the season.

  • New world premiere commissioned for soprano Dawn Upshaw – Nov 7
  • Stravinsky Festival – Jan 8-24
  • Cantus – May 20-23
  • Joshua Bell – May 27-39

I am a bit disappointed that the Nov 7 concert is one night only.  The Stravinsky Festival will be nice to see, and I think is the first time they will play with the Minnesota Orchestra since Britten’s War Requiem a few years back.  Cantus is a great choral ensemble, and worth seeing.  Former SPCO artistic partner Joshua Bell is back after performing a recital with the Schubert Club in 2008 and Minnesota Orchestra earlier this year.

Looking at the program for the six chamber music series, which is really blind faith for subscription as they are rarely programmed at renewal time, I am pretty happy.  Not only that, but I am very glad that I increased my subscription to two tickets on Friday nights.

Here is the program.  Dates are Friday nights at 8 PM and Sunday afternoon at 2 PM.

Oct 2/4 – Haydn String Quartet

  • Program to include:
  • Haydn: String Quartet in G
  • Kodaly: Serenade for Two Violins and Viola

Oct 23/25 – SPCO Winds

  • Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileras No. 6 for Flute and Basson
  • Piston: Three Pieces for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon
  • Beethoven: Wind Sextet
  • Enesco: Dixtour for Wind Instruments
  • Wilder: Woodwind Quintet No. 2

Dec 11/13 – Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto

  • Bach/Sitkovetsky: Goldberg Variations
  • Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 4 and 5

Feb 5/7 – Boccherini, Leclair, and Borodin

  • Boccherini: String Quintet in C
  • Leclair: Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 3, No. 4
  • Borodin: String Quartet No. 2 in D

Feb 19/21 – Dvorak and a World Premiere

  • Telemann: Quartet in A Minor
  • Telemann: Trio Sonata in A Minor
  • David Evan Thomas: New Work for Recorder, Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, and Harpsichord
  • Dvorak: String Quintet in E-flat, The American

May 14/16 – Mozart, Beethoven and More

  • Dohnanyi: Serenade in C for Violin, Viola and Cello
  • Beethoven: Sextet in E-flat for Two Horns and String Quartet
  • Mozart: Horn Quintet in E-flat
  • Martinu: Nonet for Winds and Strings

The only regret with the programming is that I wish they were doing all six Brandenburg Concertos in one evening like they did in the 2007-2008 season.

-Josh

SPCO concert review – Sept 13, 2008

I feel like I finally got my fix, it has been two months since I have seen live classical music performed.  I think I was going into withdrawal.  Looking at my schedule next week, I have to say that I am going to look like a junkie with 4 days in a row of live music!

So on to tonight – the artistic partner for this weekend’s program was Robert Abbado and the featured soloist was pianist Peter Serkin.  Here is the program:

  • Stravinsky – Concerto in D for Strings
  • Stravinsky – Movements for Piano and Orchestra
  • Wuorinen – Flying to Kahani
  • Haydn – Symphony No. 103, Drum Roll

I really like the bookends to this program, the first Stravinsky piece and the Haydn Symphony.  To my ears, the Concerto in D was not as conventional as much of the classical repertoire, but it was still very enjoyable.  The second Stravinsky piece was very similiar to what you would hear in 12 tone by Arnold Schoenberg.  The piece by Wuorinen is another 12 tone work and neither of these were as pleasing to my ears.

At intermission I chatted with my friend Egil (or Bravo Man) and he thought the Movements for Piano and Orchestra wasn’t played very well, and he enjoyed the Wuorinen.

After intermission it was just the Haydn Symphony.  It was very enjoyable from beginning to end.  This particular symphony is on of the 12 London Symphonies composed by Haydn.  It opened with a very distinctive timpani solo, the reason it is called Drum Roll, and continued on from there.  I was a bit suprised that the concertmaster, Steven Copes, was acknowledged as a soloist before the timpanist, but from my vantage in the left back corner of the orchestra I didn’t have good view of Steven’s solo work (thinking quantity).

It looks like Abaddo and Serkin have combined on the Wuorinen piece before.  You can see reviews of the SPCO concert program in the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Besides the actual concert performance, I have some other comments on the experience and musicians.  First, I used Club 2030, but it was a bit more complicated than last time.  A friend of mine who happens to be in a wheelchair was to join me.  The SPCO holds tickets for concertgoers who are in wheelchairs and their companions.  However, because the spots are locked, you need to call the ticket office to access the tickets with the Club 2030 discount, rather than on-line.  At first the ticket office staff wanted to direct me to the on-line ordering, but I was persistent, pointing out that the seats I needed to purchase were not available on-line because they were locked.

I also noticed the both Shane Kim and Kathryn Bennett were back playing with the SPCO.  Shane had played with the Minnesota Orchestra all last season, and Kathryn seemed to be with Minnesota Orchestra for most of the end of last season.  I ran into to Shane on the street after the concert and he informed me that he will be performing with both Orchestras this season.  I also ran into Bernhard Scully, principal horn, after the concert.  I have never talked to him before, but he was very personable, introducing himself, asking if I go to other concerts, and telling me to say hi next time I see him.  I also remember hearing from someone that he was a Minneapolis South High graduate (like myself) and he confirmed it – class of ’95.

Speaking of fellow South High alums, my sister’s friend Sarah was sitting down the row from me.  She is in her early 30s and really enjoyed her seats via Club 2030 (and the music) and looks forward to the free Enso Quartet concert next Saturday that was offered to Club 2030 members.

SPCO Chamber concert features Mollie Marcuson on harp

This past weekend the SPCO had their last Chamber Music series concerts, and the first part of the program featured harpist Mollie Marcuson.

Here is the program for the concert:

  • Fantasy in A for Violin and Harp, Op. 124 – Saint-Saens
    Mollie Marcuson-harp, Daria Adams-violin
  • Entr’acte for Flute and Harp (from Le medecin de son honneur) – Ibert
    Mollie Marcuson-harp, Alicia McQuerrey-flute
  • Sonata en trio, for Flute, Viola, and Harp, L.137 – Debussy
    Mollie Marcuson-harp, Alicia McQuerrey-flute, Tamas Strasser-viola
  • Archduke Trio, Op. 97 – Beethoven
    Leslie Shank-violin, Joshua Koestenbaum-cello, Lydia Artymiw-piano

While the most famous piece is the Archduke Trio, which would lead you to think that was the signature piece.  I really feel that having three chamber pieces with harp meant the SPCO was showcasing the able skills of Marcuson.

For me, the Saint-Saens piece was my favorite of the night.  It was very beautiful and a great pairing of Adams on violin and Marcuson on harp.  I didn’t like Ibert as much, not sure if it is the music itself of the instrumentation pairing.  The Debussy took a while to grow on me, but by the last movement, I was enjoying it a lot.

It was really nice to have the harp as a featured instrument.  It has such a beautiful sound, and for it to be brought forward for so much of a concert, was great.

I also enjoyed sitting right in front of the harp.  When I attend SPCO concerts at the Ordway, the harp is tucked behind the string section, and from my front row seats, can’t see much of the instrument or performer.  On Friday, I was enjoying watching the pedal (seven pedals) work for the first two pieces, the music stand blocking the view of the finger work.  With a shift in the instrument placement, I got to watch the finger work for the Debussy, and it was pretty amazing to see.

For the other string instruments, you have one hand working 4 strings, and the other controlling the bowing (or occasionally plucking) of those strings (how I describe based on my observations).  But for the harp, you have both hands working a lot of different strings, often two fingers of the same hand working two different strings.  There were a few parts of the Debussy, where Marcuson seemed to be plucking three strings over and over, very quickly, with just one hand.  Add in the hands muting the vibrations, which reminds me of the timpani, and it is was just as fun to see as to hear.

Thank you SPCO for programming a harp heavy concert, and kudos to Marcuson for a great performance!

-Josh

SPCO plays the Devil’s Trill

This weekend the SPCO had a very nice concert.  So nice, that at least one of my friends that saw it three times.

The concert opened with Rameau’s Suite from Zoroastre, very much a baroque piece.  I am not sure that I have heard any music by Rameau before, but it doesn’t matter because I really liked it.  A few times it seemed like I heard some elements of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in it.  It was interesting that the violins were reduced to four musicians (from six) for each of the first and second violin sections, the violas were their usual four, the cellos were halved to two, and bass also halved to one.  For cello and bass, the principals did not play.

Second up was the very familiar by now (saw it on February 9th and April 6th), Tartini’s Devil’s Trill, arranged for violin solo, piano, and string orchestra.  I have seen this piece earlier this season with Joshua Bell and Dale Baltrop in recital, but without the string orchestra.  As before, this is a great piece and Dale Barltrop once again played it beautifully.  It was hard for me to hear the piano where I was sitting, but the strings were a really nice complement to the solo violin.  As expected (and same as Thursday at Temple Israel as reported by my friends) Dale got a very quick standing ovation from the audience which was well deserved.

After intermission we heard Dvorak’s Serenade in D Minor for Winds, Op. 44.  This was a fun piece that featured winds (no flutes) plus solo cello and solo bass played by the principals.  At the start of the third movement I really enjoyed the parts by Timothy Paradise on clarinet and Kathryn Greenback on oboe.  It was also nice to see Sarah Lewis, Sabina Thatcher, and Michael Christie (Michael was sitting one row in front of me on the aisle) sitting in the audience for it.  Steven Copes lurked in a doorway for about 2 movements.

The final piece of the night was Ligeti’s Concert Romanesc (Romanian Concerto) which took a while to start.  After the stagehands rearranged the seating and stands, the musicians came out and sat, we waited a little while for Michael Christie to take the stage and conduct this final piece.  He left his seat after the Wind Serenade pretty early in the applause, so I am not sure what happened.

The good news is that the wait was well worth it.  This was a fun, lively piece that was fun to hear.  I had heard from my friend who attended the night before that it was good, and my guest that joined me said it was her favorite piece that night.  I hope we hear it again.

-Josh

Dawn Upshaw sings Schubert

On April 24th (and 26th) Dawn Upshaw sang in her final concert of the season as an Artistic Partner with the SPCO. This was the first concert I attended with a Club 2030 purchased seat, which placed me in seat 213 and row S. The view from this location was very nice, I could see the wind section for a change.

The concert started with Stravinsky’s Suite from Pulcinella which is a beautiful piece, especially the second movement-Serenata. This piece had the principal strings (excluding bass), Steven Copes-1st violin, Dale Barltrop-2nd violin, Sabina Thatcher-viola, and Ronald Thomas-cello, sitting in string quartet formation and the rest of their sections sitting behind them.

It was a bit odd to start the concert program with such a long piece (23 minutes) as often they start with a shorter piece to make it easier to seat late people between pieces, rather than between movements. However, that was probably a nod to Dawn Upshaw’s performance in the later two pieces before intermission.

As I mentioned, the Serenata is particularly nice, it features a nice opening oboe solo which was wonderfully played by Kathryn Greenbank. This movement is one of my favorite all time and I was happy to hear it live again. I have this recording of it and I recommend it highly.

After the Suite was finished, I was a bit surprised that conductor Douglas Boyd, an oboist himself, shook hands with the string quartet members after the piece, but didn’t acknowledge Kathryn Greenbank until after he returned to the stage.

The next two pieces were songs by Stravinsky-Two Poems of Constantin Bal’mont and Three Japanese Lyrics with Dawn Upshaw singing soprano. Both were short, 3 minutes, I didn’t enjoy them all that much, not awful, just not my cup of tea.  In an interesting change of pace, the SPCO used supertitles and two TVs on the side of the stage (for those sitting close) to provide translations of the text.  They had done supertitles for years, then at one point switched to paper inserts to the program book.

This was the first concert I have heard for the give, not sure if they started a week earlier with the neighborhood series, but happy they didn’t do it at the April 5th concert (which in past years they would have).  This year’s theme is about people coming to the SPCO and that they want to support the organization.  As in the past they have a match from the Bush Foundation for new and increased giving.  The increased giving might be why they are giving a book on the SPCO for $150, higher than last year’s DVD (with TPT) about their tour to Europe which went to those who gave $100.

After intermission, we heard a world premiere of Schubert songs (She Was Here) arranged by Golijov. I am not really familiar with these songs, not sure I have heard them before. I really liked them, the music was very nice and we were able to see Golijov take a bow for his work as he was in attendance. In fact he was sitting 2 rows in front of me.

Last year the SPCO played a piece by Golijov, The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind for Klezmer Clarinet and String Quartet (arranged for klezmer clarinet and string orchestra) which has a very different sound (Klezmer), but also very enjoyable. I recommend this recording which I own. Hopefully we will hear more from this composer in the future.

The concert ended with Haydn’s Symphony No. 104, London. As usual, this was another great performance. If you like Haydn, you should look at subscribing to the SPCO, you will see his symphonies played with them much more often than with the Minnesota Orchestra.

For those of you who are less familiar with classical music, where I used to be until I started going all the time. Haydn really did have 104 symphonies, much more than the 9 symphonies of Beethoven, and rightfully so is called the father of symphonies.

-Josh

Dale Barltrop recital

It was a dark and stormy night, well really more depressing and gloomy than stormy, and it really was the afternoon, but I was lucky, I was hearing some great music for free.

See the SPCO is really supportive of their musicians, and they were hosting a recital by Dale Barltrop at the SPCO Center. He performed three pieces with Mary Jo Gothmann accompanying him on piano.

  • Tartini-Violin Sonata in G Minor, The Devil’s Trill arranged by Kreisler
  • Ravel-Sonata for Violin and Piano
  • Beethoven-Sonata for Piano and Violin, No. 7 in C Minor, Op. 3 No. 2

I learned of this recital as a member of Club 2030, which is still the best deal in town. Remember this will allow someone who is between 20 and 39 years old to purchase up to two tickets for SPCO concerts at the Ordway for the low cost of $10 per ticket for best seat available. Obviously, this week, we saw another benefit of it, a chance to get free tickets to this recital.

At the concert we learned that the two target groups were Club 2030 and long time subscribers, I am not sure about the threshold to be targeted as a long time subscriber (I am probably in the 10-11 year range) because I didn’t hear of it that way. I did notice a number younger people in the audience, which is good, as we need to develop the connections and relationships so they will become the future concert-goers. It was nice of Dale to refer to the long time subscribers as friends and family, and I really think that the SPCO has that feel with its more intimate presence, Daryl Skobba’s farewell concert was a great example of it as I have written before.

Now onto the recital, the first piece, The Devil’s Trill was so enjoyable. It is a very fast paced piece and Dale and Mary Jo played it very well. I have seen this piece earlier this year when Joshua Bell played it for his Schubert Club recital.

The Ravel sonata was very nice also, but my friends and I agreed, that the piano part of the sonata was more enjoyable than the violin component. This is not a critique of Dale’s playing, just how the piece is written. There are jazz elements to this piece and they are especially notable coming from the piano in the 2nd and 3rd movements.

After intermission, the Beethoven sonata was another very good piece, but a little more serious and somber than the earlier two, but it has me considering looking into maybe picking up these sonatas on CD.

We did get one encore, I didn’t quite catch the name of it, something with Slide in it. Dale said he didn’t want the recital to end on such a serious piece, so he played this very energetic and enjoyable piece.

Mary Jo Gothmann has played in the chamber series before, I think just before Christmas, maybe even on a Ravel piece, and after that concert I remember Dale raving about her skill then. I think they make a good team.

But wait, there is more! Not only did we get to hear this lovely recital on a gloomy afternoon, but there was a reception afterwards. We got some small desserts and punch, plus a chance to chat with the musicians. Dale was the man of the hour, very much in demand, always a line to talk with him.

He really is a good ambassador, as are most the musicians I have chatted with over the years, as he took time to talk with everyone and thank them for coming. I find that ironic as we were the ones that should have been thanking him for allowing us to see such a good recital.

I did learn two things, one that Dale is 27 years old, the e-mail to Club 2030 mentioned his youth. Which means that he was 22 or 23 years old when he joined the SPCO in the 2003-2004 season. The other thing I learned is they have selected the violist to sit in the Alice Preves Viola Chair, the name he mentioned was Maiya, since I didn’t ask for last name, I have to guess that she is the Maiya Papich who has performed with the orchestra occasionally this season.

If you want to listen to The Devil’s Trill you can buy it at Amazon, Great Recordings of the Century with David Oistrakh on violin and Vladimir Yampolsky on piano is very affordable at $7.97. Or better yet, you can go see Dale perform it May 1-3rd. It will be a little different than what I saw, as they will play an arrangement that is for violin and orchestra. I will be at one of those concerts.

me and Dale

-Josh

SPCO review, Dawn Upshaw and 20th century music

This weekend the SPCO had two concerts at the Ordway with Dawn Upshaw as soloist and a program entirely of 20th century music.

  • Stravinsky-Concerto in E-flat for Chamber Orchestra, Dumbarton Oaks
  • Hindemith-Chamber Music No. 1 for 12 Solo Instruments, Op. 24
  • Schoenberg-Four Brettl-Lieder (Cabaret Songs) arranged by Patrick Davin
    Dawn Upshaw, soprano
  • Revueltas-Homage to Federico Garcia Lorca
  • Berio-Folk Songs for Voice and Chamber Ensemble
    Dawn Upshaw, soprano

In the concert going world, there are many people who will run away from some of these modern composers, especially Hindemith and Schoenberg.  In my own personal world of speculation, I suspect that this program may have included all these modern pieces so that concert-goers could avoid one concert, rather than have modern pieces sprinkled throughout a number of concert programs.  However, the reduced size of the orchestra for each piece (especially in strings), giving many members the night off, could have shaped the programming just as easily.

As a reminder, I am not a tough critic.  I couldn’t discern between on musician’s playing of a piece and another, my brain just doesn’t work that way.  So my reviews are really about did I like this music or not.

I liked the Stravinsky, it was really nice.  I was surprised by the Hindemith, I enjoyed it, not all of it, but it would not scare me from seeing it again.  No, I didn’t like the Revueltas, it was pretty strange, and I just didn’t get in to it.  The history behind it was pretty fascinating, and because of that, I am glad that I learned about some history that I had no idea of, here is the program notes on that history,

The bullets that killed him were scarcely fired before the death of Federico Garcia Lorca in 1936 became a potent and enduring symbol of the horror of political oppression.  Even those who might have found Lorca’s unapologetic homosexuality a problem were horrified at the brutal execution of so great and prominent an artist.  It only added to the world’s outrage that his body had been tossed into an unmarked grave.  Expressions of grief were heard worldwide, above all in Spanish-speaking countries.  Many new works of art were created in his memory–this piece was among the very first, written within three months of the poet’s death.

As you may have noticed, I skipped the Schoenberg piece, that is because I wanted to group Dawn Upshaw’s performances together.  The Schoenberg is not what you normally think of Schoenberg, as a Cabaret, this piece was very entertaining and Dawn Upshaw sang wonderfully.

While the Schoenberg was enjoyable, the Folk Songs were great,

  • Black in Color (USA)
  • I wonder as I wander (USA)
  • Loosin yelav (Armenia)
  • Rossignolet du bois (France)
  • A la femminisca (Sicily)
  • La donna ideale (Italy)
  • Ballo (Italy)
  • Motettu de tristura (Sardinia)
  • Malurous qu’o uno fenno (France)
  • Lo fiolaire (Auvergne, France)
  • Azerbaijan love song (Azerbaijan)

I really liked all of the songs, most of them I really liked, with a few, enjoyable enough, but not spectacular.  What was spectacular was Dawn Upshaw’s singing.  Her voice made all of these songs a joy to listen to.  And look at that list, at least 5 languages plus many dialects, I have no idea how she learned them, let alone kept them all straight, but she did.

All in all, it was a night of 20th century music that was well worth listening to.  I will be a little less scared when I hear Hindemith is on the program after this concert.

-Josh

Minimalist Masters with the SPCO

I saw the February 7th concert, which was played again on the 9th. This was the first Engine 408 series concert I have seen this year. The Engine 408 series is about newer music and is played in the SPCO Center (or Huss Music Room) in the Hamm Building.

If you read my review of the Cinema music with the Minnesota Orchestra, you would learn that I like minimalist music. This concert had three pieces, and I liked Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 2 the best. The John Adams’ Road Movies was alright, it kept the pianist, Susan Grace, working hard. For both of these pieces before the intermission, Scott Yoo was playing violin, 2nd violin in the quartet, and the only other instrument beside the piano in the Adams piece. It was nice to see Scott Yoo’s very able skills as a violinist, to supplement my high opinion of his more frequent conducting role with the SPCO.

After intermission we heard a long three movement piece by Steve Reich, Different Trains, for string quartet and pre-recorded sound. This piece focused on trains, first on train travel within the US cross country, then switching to Europe during World War II and their use in transporting Jews to concentration camps, and then returning back to trains in the US after the War. The recorded sound included voice, train whistles, and string quartet.

The live and amplified performers, Dale Barltrop and Nina Tso-Ning Fan on violin, Evelina Chao on viola, and Joshua Koestenbaum on cello, had a very challenging task and they delivered it. There were no true movement breaks for this very long piece. With the accompanying pre-recorded sound, they had to have their timing perfect. During the third movement this was very clear from watching Joshua Koestenbaum mouth his count (with head bobs) as he nailed the timing to accompany the train whistle.

I chatted with Dale Barltrop after the concert and then again at Kincaid’s on Saturday after their second performance. I said that looked really hard, and he agreed, he said one of the hard parts was working with the recorded sound and how the recorded string quartet would sometimes be too soft to hear. He also said that the break in performing and practicing until Saturday night might make the performance not as strong as Thursday, and on Saturday night he thought it was a bit weaker. On Saturday I had mentioned watching Joshua on the count, and Dale said they never looked at each other, they would have lost their spot in the music.

Overall I liked the Glass string quartet the best, and have ordered it on CD performed by the Kronos Quartet at Amazon. I found the Adams and Reich piece to be interesting, but not anything I would need to see again. Both of those pieces seemed very demanding of the performers and the performers seemed to deliver. You can read another review of this concert in the Strib.

-Josh

Great deal to see the SPCO

As you may have noticed, I like the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Of the arts organizations that I frequent in the Twin Cities, I attend more SPCO concerts than any other with a subscription to 3 different venues for a total of 26 concerts this season. Although with some additions, I might hit 30.

One reason is the connection that I feel with the orchestra, read my other post to understand what I mean.

But the other reason is that it is so affordable. I do not pay more than $11 for any of my tickets, and I like all of my seats. The chamber series is general admission, but I usually get to sit in the front row.

Well if you are between 20-39, you can get great seats, many that would be considered better than mine, for only $10 a ticket with their new Club2030 program. This is how it works, for any concert at the Ordway you can get 2 seats for $10 each in best seats available (for tickets that could cost up to $59).

  • You have to register, which puts you in drawing for some prizes.
  • You have to order on-line. There is no service charge (yeah)!
  • You can order the tickets in advance, but you must pick them up on site the day of the concert.
  • You must show your id with DOB verifying that you are 20-39 years old. If you buy two tickets, only one person must be in that age range.
  • There are no refunds.

Personally I think this is a great deal and encourage people to take advantage of it. The neighborhood series tickets are $25 or $10 which are a great deal too.

-Josh

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