Friday, July 18, 2014
Prairie Ensemble Final Concert
Tomorrow night's Prairie Ensemble concert will be the final concert of an 18-year "run." I have enjoyed playing in the ensemble for nine or ten of those seasons.
I will miss the musicians, but I will (hopefully) see many of them around town in other musical configurations. I will miss the collective effort to make orchestral music feel like chamber music. I will really miss the music. Kevin Kelly always made interesting and worthwhile programs, and introduced music from the more obscure corners of the repertoire. The audiences and the players found the music we played (and, for the time being, play) delightful as well as challenging.
Tomorrow night's program is typically atypical. The Nielsen Flute Concerto juxtaposes (and sometimes superimposes) music that is lyrical with music that is decidedly argumentative.
The piece didn't make much sense to me when I dutifully learned the solo part as a teenager. It didn't even make sense to me when I listened again and again to the recording by Julius Baker and the New York Philharmonic. But now that I understand some of the workings of the world and a little bit about the way Carl Nielsen reacted personally and musically to 20th-century life, it makes a great deal of sense. It also makes more sense to think of the piece as either a kind of concerto for orchestra rather than a typical solo concerto written to focus attention on the virtuosity of the soloist.
I should mention that Mary Leathers Chapman, who is playing the solo flute part, sounds spectacular.
I will miss our core audience (I know their faces and some of their names). They are people who know that the Prairie Ensemble is something truly special.