The Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert Saturday night was highly impressive. The orchestra is nearly always sharp, but they seemed to be exceptionally forceful and persuasive this time. Hans Graf was the guest conductor, and I have much appreciation for the performance and interpretation he led.
Mozart’s fifth violin concerto made me smile a lot at how cleverly the various themes would pop up as the concerto progressed. The soloist, Vadim Repin, is astonishingly skilled yet was no mere technician, giving the music much expressiveness. He rewarded the audience ovations with an encore, the same encore from Friday’s concert as mentioned in the Freep’s review, a fun reading of a Sicilian tune in the fashion of Paganini. The audience chuckled at the tricks and flourishes. Dave commented that he looked like “a good natured fellow”; he came off as very likeable. (No, we didn’t go meet him during the intermission. Maybe we should’ve.)
After intermission came Bruckner’s 9th symphony, which was unfinished at Bruckner’s death and STILL ran over sixty minutes. I had spent some time listening to a recording of it, trying to grasp it better but not really succeeding. Sitting in the concert hall, I *got* it, though. The first movement was especially grand and emotional. The orchestra was twice as big for the Bruckner as for the Mozart, and it easily projected all the emotion Bruckner intended. I heard so much that I missed in the recording and have a much better appreciation now.
This season the DSO has featured the great 9th symphonies. The last one is, of course, Beethoven’s, and that’s scheduled for the weekend after Memorial Day.* I’m sure it’s been sold out since September, but boy would that be a great concert.
Dave and I have determined that the seats we had, row N on main floor on the next-to-leftmost aisle, are the best for acoustics that we’ve experienced. In other locations of Orchestra Hall, the horns might have overpowered the strings, especially in the Bruckner 9th where the horns are so prominent. But not in this location; the blend was perfect. And there’s legroom, which is missing just five rows further back. I feel obliged to say that we got main floor tickets because the DSO runs a special for most of their March and April concerts, two tickets for $49; main floor is usually $64 each.
*Previously I said that the Beethoven 9th was Memorial Day weekend. Also it said that Bruckner’s was next-to-last, which is wrong; Mahler’s 9th comes in early May. (edited April 22, 2008)