Recent Concerts You've Enjoyed

Jul 4, 2016
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Get to see Ricky Skaggs here in a few weeks...looking forward to it!

On another note...5th row for Joe Bonamassa this past week. Big fan but I hadn't seen him live. Absolutely terrible.......WAY too loud...just a huge wall of distorted, garbled sound. Couldn't understand a single lyric. Not musical at all. What a disappointment....
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
One of Southern Orange County's hidden gems for a fun nostalgic evening is The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano (http://thecoachhouse.com) and last night was no exception.I've been going there for 40 years. Either the Coach House serves as a venue for Great groups of yesteryear and/or cover groups of great groups of yesteryear. One of my favorite all time groups is The Eagles whom I have seen many times since the early 70's and their Hotel California tour as well as several cover groups but never the cover group that leave people wanting more, to wit Desperado. The Coach House I would guess seats somewhere between 300-400 people for dinner and the show. Desperado not only tours and play with the Eagles several times a year but so also with Don Felder and Timothy B Schmit when they tour. When I looked to buy tickets I almost fell off my seat as I thought I wasn't seeing right, as tickets were $20 each.

There was no lead in act as there so often is as the headliner usually puts on a 90 minute show. Not so with Desperado who started at 8 o'clock and a 15 minute break at 9 o'clock and they came back and played nonstop until 1115 and I had great seats. These guys were darn good and not unexpectedly their last song was Hotel California and they nailed it

If you're an Eagles fan and want to hear their entire repertoire and Desperado is performing near you, you won't regret it. My wife and I had a great time
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Today at Walt Disney Concert Hall:


  • KNUSSEN : O Hototogisu! fragment of a Japonisme (U.S. premiere)
  • SAINT-SAËNS : Piano Concerto No. 5, “Egyptian” (Sorry Peter but even though this is a very lively one it still put me to sleep.)

  • BEETHOVEN : Symphony No. 5 (This was FANTASTIC!!!)

I did not grow up listening to classical music. It was a slowly acquired taste for me. I have to say that hearing Beethoven's 5th Symphony today reminds me why I really like and focus on only 7 or 8 pieces. Find me more than 6 or 7 pieces as good as this one! :)
 
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ptman

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Dec 23, 2011
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We saw Jon Batiste last Friday in a small (600 people) setting. Excellent entertainer and piano virtuoso, mixing classical with New Orleans and jazz influences.
 

asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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Ron,

From one classical music neophyte to another :) If you liked the 5th, you'll dig the 9th, and perhaps the 6th...
Oh, and Mahler's 2nd.
 

Ron Resnick

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Thank you, Alex. Beethoven's 9th is one of the other 5 or 6 I like. Others are Night On Bald Mountain, Pictures at an Exhibition, Symphony Fantastique and Mozart Jupiter Symphony No. 41.

I did not care for Beethoven's 6th. I will try Mahler's 2nd. Thank you for the suggestions.

I actually don't care for a big favorite here: Scheherazade. It sounds too snake-charmer for me.
 
May 30, 2010
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Thank you, Alex. Beethoven's 9th is one of the other 5 or 6 I like. Others are Night On Bald Mountain, Pictures at an Exhibition, Symphony Fantastique and Mozart Jupiter Symphony No. 41.

I did not care for Beethoven's 6th. I will try Mahler's 2nd. Thank you for the suggestions.

I actually don't care for a big favorite here: Scheherazade. It sounds too snake-charmer for me.
You should try some Bela Bartok concertos - perhaps the Concerto for Orchestra. Sections of instruments are treated as soloists in this piece - I know of several people who entered the classic music scene by this piece. Or the fabulous Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra.

Gershwin masterpiece Rhapsody in Blue also should not be forgotten. Classic music should not make us feel asleep. Considering Scheherazade, perhaps you should forget about the recording quality and get a good russian style interpretation, such as Igor Markevitch or Kondrashin ... ;)
 
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Ron Resnick

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Thank you, Francisco, but Scheherazade is still going to sound like snake-charmer music to me.
 

bonzo75

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Thank you, Alex. Beethoven's 9th is one of the other 5 or 6 I like. Others are Night On Bald Mountain, Pictures at an Exhibition, Symphony Fantastique and Mozart Jupiter Symphony No. 41.

I did not care for Beethoven's 6th. I will try Mahler's 2nd. Thank you for the suggestions.

I actually don't care for a big favorite here: Scheherazade. It sounds too snake-charmer for me.
You should try to watch all of them over the years instead of picking and choosing this way. Why Mahler 2, or any other number, when you haven't heard them live or do not know them properly? If one of those is playing at a nearby concert hall (in your case Disney), and fits into your schedule, listen to it twice at home, then go listen to it live, then decide if you want to hear it again or not.

The big epiphany will come when you also get into the smaller pieces and start appreciating the performers. So you might not attend a concert only because a particular piece is playing, but because some particular artist is performing. Right now you are trying to short list what you would like to attend based on what you might have heard recorded, that too not properly. Also since you are discovering classical you should not assume your taste. Assuming taste with food or classical before exposure is a big mistake. You will be surprised what good cantatas, renaissance, choir performed in smaller venues and churches can do

Same thing with recordings. When I go to the General's, I hear so many recitals or small pieces that are just brilliantly recorded and performed
 
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XV-1

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May 24, 2010
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Bauhaus ‎– Peter Murphy, David J and co were in great form last night.





 

marty

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Two nights ago, saw Bruckner 6 at Chicago Symphony Hall. Beautiful performance. The first movement alone was worth the price of admission. The CSO was under the baton of the legendary Bernard Haitink who is 90 years old! He exemplifies that you don't have to flail around like an epileptic to get an orchestra, especially one as gifted as the CSO, to do what you want. Minimalist hand motions were all that were needed. His Bruckner is widely acknowledged as superb anyway, but it was a delight to see this gentleman do it in such a precise, reserved manner. Unfortunately as he came out from backstage to a thunderous applause after the performance, he tripped on a small stair to the conducting podium and did a face-plant to the floor. The crowd gasped and went immediately silent until some musicians helped him back up, at which time the applause and whistles grew even louder. He went back stage and re-emerged for yet another round of applause, but this time he walked up to the front of the stage with a cane. When he got near the front of the stage, the audience immediately put up their hands in unison to signal him to stop moving so as to suggest he not come further forward for fear of falling off the stage. Quite a moment.

This was my first time sitting in the Fadim lower balcony, and the sound was spectacular. It was in many ways as good if not better than the Box seats immediately below (at a 40% discount to the Box seats- I have some reserved during AXPONA this April if you want to join us). Simply terrific sound. What a hall! Unfortunately, the orchestra has not filled their first trumpet position since Chris Martin left for the NY Philharmonic. But the rest of their brass section with Jay Friedman (trombone) and Gene Pokorny (tuba) are still absolutely among the best on the planet. Lovely evening.
 
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marty

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I actually don't care for a big favorite here: Scheherazade. It sounds too snake-charmer for me.
Ron,
Regarding you remarks on Scheherazade, I wonder if you would think differently of the piece if you knew the story. Perhaps you do, but for me, it's far more than a simple "snake charmer" piece of music.

The scenario, inscribed on the score, concerns the mighty and misogynous Sultan Sharyar who enjoyed his nuptial pleasures without the risk of acquiring a life-long nag by the politically-incorrect (but temptingly convenient?) expedient of having each wife executed the morning after. However, Scheherazade enchants him with wondrous tales, each of which she craftily left unfinished at the night's end. Left wanting for more, Sharyar repeatedly had to stay her execution, until in the end he finally admits defeat as he succumbs to her charms.

In actuality, it's all about the "Me Too" movement 100 years before anyone ever coined that term. It's really the story of a woman who goes from being conquered to the conquerer as she figures out how to deter the King (the Harvey Weinstein of his day) who would typically rape then kill women as he had done countless times on a nightly basis, to someone that captures the King's attention and ultimately charms the King to fall in love with her and in the end, marries the king and becomes the Queen. The tension in the music is palpable from the first time she quietly appears (the famous Scheherazade violin theme) and grows in intensity until she finally bends and breaks the King like a pretzel in the 4th movement. "Too snake-charmer"...? Well buddy, you should hear it with my narration! What is going on in those snake charmer scenes is not for the faint of heart!! This is, at its conclusion, an intense and lurid sex play, plain and simple. Scheherazade basically charms this guy with stories in which he places the Sultan as the featured characters in heroic escapades which is really a set-up for dropping him like a stone in the last movement as she finally vanquishes his outsized ego with her seduction. She ultimately triumphs in the end as the King bends to her will and not the other way around.

It is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music because of the way Rimsky-Korsakov tells the story with music. The other reason I love it is because while Rimsky-Korsakov was considered mostly a B+ composer, he was widely recognized as an A+ orchestrator and the orchestration of Scheherazade is a flat out masterpiece. He uses every conceivable orchestral section to its maximum advantage as he tells the story with music. It's as if they they all have speaking parts in the story! Rimsky remains the Master Magician of orchestration, surpassing even Wagner and Berlioz (whose Treatise on Orchestration taught him the art). His best work is utterly unrivalled in the quality of its scoring - entrancing sounds conjured by the very simplest of means. The music of Scheherazade is like a magic carpet: it can transport you to another world.

A great summary of the musical details telling the story by movement can be found on MusicWeb International:

The Sea and Sinbad's Ship (Largo e Maestoso - Allegro non troppo) Two memorable mottos represent the protagonists: “Sharyar”, majestic and fearsome on bass strings and heavy brass, and “Scheherazade”, sinuously seductive on solo violin over harp arpeggios. The movement alternates three climactic passages predominantly scored for strings and brass, casting “Sharyar” in the role of Sinbad, with three calm twilit episodes featuring both mottos. The scoring of the two interstitial episodes, otherwise practically identical, is breathtaking in its simple ingenuity: in the second episode the solo 'cello swaps places with the horn, likewise clarinet with flute, while oboe and solo violin stay put.

The Tale of the Kalendar Prince (Lento - Andante) The Kalendars were wandering beggars, for some superstitious reason fêted as royalty. The movement is a ternary form (ABA) kaleidoscope of increasingly colourful variations, making atmospheric use of string tremolandos and “thrummings”, and characteristically “pricking” textures with sharper sounds. “Scheherazade” weaves her spell to introduce the A theme - half dancing, half declamatory - on the only woodwind not yet heard solo: the bassoon (resolving a sort of “dissonance””). The B theme is based on “Sharyar”, first heard plucked deep in the basses, then in fierce growls and brassy fanfares. A bold march gradually emerges, bracketed by two cadenzas on the declamatory part of A. The first is for clarinet, the second (on bassoon) initiates the final section, containing the most exquisite scoring of the entire work. “Sharyar” reappears, low down, generating a huge crescendo to a knockout close.

The Young Prince and Princess (Andantino quasi Allegretto) Sheherezade invents a story of young love, if you wish - Rimsky provided scant clues: the sumptuous main theme (flowing strings) he identified with the Prince, a brief counter-subject (rippling clarinet) with the Princess, and at the central allegretto he suggested, “They carry the Princess on a palanquin” (covered carriage consisting of a large box carried on two horizontal poles by four or six bearers). Again, this is a “ternary/variations” form. The first section rings the changes on string textures tinted by added wind, with contrasting solo woodwind timbres. The allegretto, one of those wonderful oriental dances, is just an upbeat variation of the same material, where the snare-drum part is played on more than the snare-drum. A resounding trumpet-led rubato reinstates tempo primo for a rhapsodic closing section where solo instruments predominate, and “Scheherazade” embroiders the tale. The codetta is particularly captivating, woodwind swirl over string pizzicati and scintillating percussion: what images that conjures!

Festival at Baghdad - The Sea - Shipwreck on a Rock surmounted by a Bronze Warrior - Conclusion (Allegro molto) The orchestration reaches a peak of virtuosity, inevitably with less subtlety as the big guns are drawn to blast huge splashes of poster-colour. Paralleling the work's beginning, the introduction finds “Sharyar” now gruffly impatient (grabbing first whack on the bass drum), and “Scheherazade” correspondingly more animated. The Festival is, loosely, a “rondo/variations”: AB[AC]ABA, where [C], developing the Kalendar fanfare, hijacks the second [A]'s climax. The first and third occurrences of [A], a skittering dance, whip up a blaze of crackling trumpets and booming tuttis -these last based on the the Kalendar Prince's bassoon tune. "B" is the “palanquin” allegretto, liquidly re-scored. The final [A] builds manically, trumpets triple-tonguing like mad, only for the scene to cut cinematographically to Sinbad's storm-tossed ship, which shudders (theme stuttering in basses) and breaks (tamtam!). This is the zenith of the piece, and is a metaphor for the moment that Scheherazade finally breaks the Sultan's massive ego! In the stunned calm that follows, one recognises, through the thematic identity, that this symbolises Sharyar's rising passion for his enchantress and cataclysmic acquiescence to the superiority of woman (or at least this particular woman). Scheherazade finally screws Sharyar's brains out, but she is in total control, not him!

Anyway, I couldn't help comment about the "snake charmer" reference. Perhaps these insights will give you a new appreciation of the piece, which is truly extraordinary.
Marty
 
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bonzo75

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Two nights ago, saw Bruckner 6 at Chicago Symphony Hall. Beautiful performance. The first movement alone was worth the price of admission. The CSO was under the baton of the legendary Bernard Haitink who is 90 years old! He exemplifies that you don't have to flail around like an epileptic to get an orchestra, especially one as gifted as the CSO, to do what you want. Minimalist hand motions were all that were needed. His Bruckner is widely acknowledged as superb anyway, but it was a delight to see this gentleman do it in such a precise, reserved manner. Unfortunately as he came out from backstage to a thunderous applause after the performance, he tripped on a small stair to the conducting podium and did a face-plant to the floor. The crowd gasped and went immediately silent until some musicians helped him back up, at which time the applause and whistles grew even louder. He went back stage and re-emerged for yet another round of applause, but this time he walked up to the front of the stage with a cane. When he got near the front of the stage, the audience immediately put up their hands in unison to signal him to stop moving so as to suggest he not come further forward for fear of falling off the stage. Quite a moment.

This was my first time sitting in the Fadim lower balcony, and the sound was spectacular. It was in many ways as good if not better than the Box seats immediately below (at a 40% discount to the Box seats- I have some reserved during AXPONA this April if you want to join us). Simply terrific sound. What a hall! Unfortunately, the orchestra has not filled their first trumpet position since Chris Martin left for the NY Philharmonic. But the rest of their brass section with Jay Friedman (trombone) and Gene Pokorny (tuba) are still absolutely among the best on the planet. Lovely evening.
Haitink performs with the LSO here almost every year. I saw him do Bruckner 7, 9, Mahler 1, Beethoven 9, and some Brahms. Also saw him do Bruckner 7 at concertgebouw but preferred it here.

Once while walking back from the barbican I met a lady who is been playing cello with the LSO since the 80s. I asked her who her favorite conductor was and she said Haitink. He does the smallest of gestures but for her it is sufficient to control and time the orchestra perfectly.
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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I have immensely enjoyed listening to Rachmaninov’s Isle of Dead op. 29 at La Scala Milan tonight. Young Lorenzo Viotti had the orchestra project great energy and dynamic contrasts.
The last time I was at La Scala was about 3 years ago for Tosca with Dudamel conducting. What I remember was that it was fall but the temperature in the hall was about 90 degrees. I think I sweated off 5 pounds during the performance! Have they discovered air-conditioning yet or was it still very hot in the hall?
 

kodomo

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Apr 26, 2017
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The last time I was at La Scala was about 3 years ago for Tosca with Dudamel conducting. What I remember was that it was fall but the temperature in the hall was about 90 degrees. I think I sweated off 5 pounds during the performance! Have they discovered air-conditioning yet or was it still very hot in the hall?
I guess they have. It was very comfortable :)
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Seeing America tomorrow night....

How did you like America.

We saw them several months ago at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano as they played to a packed and sold out house. They sang all the oldies and goodies. Only challenge was they really couldn't sing that well anymore and much of the harmony was gone. Having said that everyone there had a blast listening
 
Two nights ago, saw Bruckner 6 at Chicago Symphony Hall. Beautiful performance. ....
This was my first time sitting in the Fadim lower balcony, and the sound was spectacular. It was in many ways as good if not better than the Box seats immediately below (at a 40% discount to the Box seats- I have some reserved during AXPONA this April if you want to join us). Simply terrific sound. What a hall! ...
Marty, I normally would have been at Thursday's concert, but I needed to exchange my tickets to Tuesday. I hope Mr. Haitink will be in good health after the fall.

I'm glad you experienced the Lower Balcony. The front seats in the Boxes are great, but otherwise I'd prefer the Lower Balcony. Nearly as close and intimate and no obstructions to the view.

Orchestra Hall is often criticized for being too "dry" and is rarely ranked among the top halls. However, as you experienced, the sound of the CSO at home can be terrific.

Ron
 
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