Sunday, September 18, 2005

why I love Ft. Worth...














Note: I didn't take this photo; I got it from Google images for the Bass.

I went to the symphony this afternoon...the Ft. Worth Symphony. I live in Dallas, but I subscribe to the Ft. Worth Symphony, which means that every time there's a concert, I drive (or am driven) 60 miles roundtrip to attend. That's considered...eccentric at best...by many Dallas and Ft. Worth natives. But I discovered a long time ago that insofar as the arts are concerned, Ft. Worth is a happenin' sort of place, much moreso than Dallas. Both have great concert halls; great acoustically speaking, and aesthetically too. Dallas has the Meyerson, designed by I.M. Pei, and Ft. Worth has the Bass, designed by David M. Schwarz. Both have talented conductors; the Bass has Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and the Meyerson has Andrew Litton (although this is his last year). I've gone to my share of concerts in both places, and I buy tickets to individual concerts at the Meyerson, but each year for the past several years I've subscribed to the Bass. It's my observation that Ft. Worth is a little more adventuresome in terms of program selection, but also...there's something sort of "down home" about going to the symphony in Ft. Worth.

A couple of years ago I had tickets for the Rach Three, considered by many to be "the Mount Everest of piano concertos"...it's the piece that drove Geoffrey Rush's character to madness in the movie, Shine. Andre Watts was scheduled to perform it with the Ft. Worth Symphony, and it was rightly billed as one of the highlights of the concert season. Imagine my dismay, then, when, the afternoon of the concert, Miguel Harth-Bedoya stepped onto the podium and said that he regretted to inform us that Andre Watts was unable to perform that afternoon because he'd sprained one of his wrists. There was a shocked silence followed by much agitated whispering, at which point Mr. Harth-Bedoya tapped sharply on the podium with his conductor's wand and said, with a smile, "We've asked a local pianist to step in for Mr. Watts...and we trust that you won't be disappointed!"

He then turned toward stage right, and there was a measureable gasp from the audience as none other than Van Cliburn stepped from behind the heavy velvet curtains and walked onto the stage. What an amazing performance I heard that afternoon.

The Ft. Worth Symphony has never disappointed me. Each concert begins with the audience rising to sing the Star Spangled Banner, accompanied by the orchestra, conducted by Mr. Harth-Bedoya. I have friends who might find this corny, but in fact it's rather touching. The audience is then seated, and the orchestra launches into whatever program is planned for that concert, and when it's good...as it usually is...they're not above performing an encore.

And that's what happened today...it was a beautiful afternoon and a beautiful concert: Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings in C Major, which has a waltz that almost anyone who's waltzed has surely danced to; Dvorak's Violin Concerto in A Minor, performed beautifully by a very pregnant Adele Anthony, and , after the intermission, Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Opus 78 (Organ). The orchestra received a well deserved standing ovation at the end, at which point Mr. Harth-Bedoya came back onto the podium. He flashed a wide smile at the audience, cupped his hand to his ear, and boomed: "What's the magic word?" "ENCORE!" those of us in-the-know shouted back...and we were rewarded.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

I LOVE the encore thing. The Oregon Symphony apparently does not believe in these. They finish, leave the stage, and everyone politely stands up and goes home. It's almost as if an "encore" would be too gauche. Or maybe they're not good enough to be called for one. I woudn't be able to judge...I've only seen two orghestras in my life--the Oregon Symphony and the Eugene Symphony. Since Eugene is the principal college town in Oregon, their symphony is every bit as good, probably better, actually, than the Oregon Symphony. Marin Alsop conducted the Eugene Symphony for a short time in the nineties...

These are both good, but small, orchestras. I would love to attend a performance of a major orchestra in a bigger city someday. Lisa :-]

emmapeelDallas said...

Yep, I love the encore thing, too, and I don't know anyone who really loves music who doesn't love it...so I don't know why more orchestras don't do it. I just always feel, at the Bass, that I'm there with a bunch of people who really love the music, who "get" it, rather than people going for the sake of going. Do you have a journal? Please leave a link; I'd love to read what you write, and thanks for dropping by mine, and for the kind remarks.

Judi

Lisa said...

LOL! I'm on your sidebar--
http://journals.aol.com/mlraminiak/ComingtotermswithMiddleAge/
"lisaram1955" is my other screen name...the one I have my "bloglines" account connected to...
Lisa :-]

emmapeelDallas said...

LOL! Ha! I'm showing my age...I thought your name looked familiar. Thanks! :)

V said...

The local guy`s pretty good!

V