Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Joy of the Fuddy-Duddy Concert

This week I had the opportunity to play a symphony concert that was made entirely of standard repertoire. It began with a Dvorak overture that was followed by the Brahms Violin Concerto, and after intermission we played the Schumann Spring Symphony. The program was well thought out, the program notes gave the progam a sense of continuity, and the performance was satisfying in every way. The solo violinist in the Brahms was Eva Leon, an up-and-coming soloist from the Canary Islands, the conductor and program annotator was Steven Larson, and the orchestra was the Champaign-Urbana Symphony. I was playing with the orchestra for the first time, and really enjoyed being in its viola section.

I remember going to concerts like this in the 1970s and even in the 1980s, before it became necessary to "reach out" to the audience, before there was competition for the "leisure dollar." The audience for this concert was small: the hall was filled to about half its capacity. The concert was also on a week night. The people who came to the concert came because they wanted to hear the music. They also came because it was a concert by their local orchestra--an orchestra that, as far as I'm concerned, plays better than some professional-but-local orchestras I have have heard in larger cities.

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