Dave and I enjoyed last night’s concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra very much. The program included the violin concerto by Jean Sibelius and Gustav Mahler’s fourth symphony. It opened with the North American premiere of a very new piece, Cyborg by Ferran Cruixent. It was inspired by how much machinery and technology has become a part of our lives, and the music reflects this in very inventive ways. I was impressed by how traditional instruments could be made to produce the sounds of industrial and electronic machines. The first three-quarters of the work is dissonant (but not atonal), loud at times, and unsettling. Then it becomes quiet, atmospheric, almost ethereal… and this is punctuated by music produced by the cell phones of the musicians themselves. It works splendidly. Dave was especially taken with the entire work. I confess I don’t exactly “get” some of it but I came to appreciate the whole thing.
We had seen both the Sibelius violin concerto and the Mahler 4th performed before, and perhaps we enjoyed the previous performances better, but last night’s were fine, indeed. Mahler’s 4th is relatively gentle compared to his others, progressing toward a very satisfying, spiritual sort of conclusion. It’s music to soothe savage breasts.
The only negative from last night was the excessive perfume emanating from the woman directly in front of me. Why, oh why do people need to exude odors like that? It made me want to go roll in garbage, and I’m not an actual dog.
Well, there’s also this: We discovered that the little CD shop in the corner of the lobby of Orchestra Hall is now a women’s clothing boutique. They used to sell CDs of the DSO and of the performers soloing with the orchestra, but no longer. I can’t see why anyone would go to the symphony and shop for dresses. This is a wholly unfortunate decision on their part.
Here’s the Detroit Free Press’s review of the concert: DSO’s ‘Cyborg’ a successful blending of modern with traditional.