Sibelius rudely awakens audience

Yet another gem from the Kansas City Star.

Timothy McDonald bravely infiltrated a Kansas City Symphony concert to help uncover the radical programming and shocking socialist agendas being used to brainwash its patrons.

Review: Chamber Players deliver a high-powered show

Classical music enthusiasts whose tastes are confined to Germany, Austria, Italy and France...

Wait a minute...? Germany, Italy... where do I know these countries from? They must have some sort of historical association...

[As always, checks internets for all of life's questions...]

figure Germans and Italians: Bringing venereal disease.

I knew it! Socialist communists!!

And it looks like they're bringing healthcare!!!

Let's throw a rock through their window!

No, no. Calm down, Gustav.

While classical music enthusiasts are fascists, that doesn't mean that
the Kansas City Symphony isn't going to launch some capitalist music up their asses!

[Takes deep breath. Pulls out "Glenn Beck's Common Sense" for some much needed wisdom...

“Everyone is Hitler, except for me!”...

Exactly. Thanks, Glenn.

Let's try this again, okay?

Classical music enthusiasts whose tastes are confined to Germany, Austria, Italy and France...

Okay...again, huh?

Is there someone out there who loves the 6 works Handel wrote in Germany, but scoffs at the music from after he moved to London in 1710? Or doubts the supreme-melodic-awesomeness of Tchaikovsky? They do realize that Dvorak was Czech and Chopin was Polish, right?

...experienced a rude awakening Friday night at the Bell Cultural Events Center of Mid-America Nazarene University.

Yeah, orchestras and audiences can become too reliant on the standard repertoire. Good call, let's shock the audiences to attention with new and challenging music...not just another performance of the "Holberg" Suite.

So, whatcha got on tap -- Composer-of-the-Day Louis Andriessen? Ligeti, Gubaydulina? Na...too socialist. How about some capitalist music? Jennifer Higdon seems pretty popular right now...how about some of her music?

The Kansas City Symphony Chamber Players took the chill out of a cool spring evening with a program entitled “Sibelius, Grieg and the Music of the North.”

Huh? First, I think your "took the chill out of [the] evening" with "Music of the North" construction is a bit contradictory. We associate the North with cold, yes? Especially Scandinavian countries...right?

No matter, we all know what you mean. I think.

But, I thought you said we were in for a rude awakening? You think that the incredibly often-played music of Sibelius and Grieg was a rude awakening to some in the audience?

That can't be right. Something else must be the rude part of the concert.

A Chamber Players concert is a somewhat more casual affair than the orchestra’s typical Classical Series offering.

Aha! ...er, casual? What does that mean? Let's ask google images...they know everything!

figure casual: Well, fuck yeah for casual!

So casual means hot chicks, beaches and looking great! What else?

The program is shorter, orchestral personnel are dressed more informally and the music is discussed in relaxed fashion from the stage.

Loosely fitting clothes for me, tight pants for her, and socialist, I mean, Scandinavian music...sounds like the perfect concert to me! However, I sense a "but" coming...

But casual by no means equates with unengaged.

Crap. I have to engage?

This was a high-powered concert by 21 string players and Steven Jarvi, the Kansas City Symphony’s associate conductor.
The concert opened with Andante Festivo, a brief one-movement work by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

Andante?! String players?! That does sound "high-powered".

From the outset, the audience heard a wonderfully blended lyrical passage that was hymnlike in nature.

Hymnlike? Lyrical? I hope everyone brought earplugs in case things got out of hand.

Sounds like a pretty high-powered concert. If you had to narrow it down, what was the most satisfying part?

What was most satisfying was the rich sonority the orchestra brought to the work.

Rich sonority, eh? Good call, because if there's one thing all of Sibelius' music is missing, it's rich sonority.

The “Little” Suite by Danish composer Carl Nielsen followed.

figure Nielsen: Honk if you demand satisfaction.

It began with a particularly rich sound by the cellos and double basses.

Is that "rich sound" anything like the "rich sonority" of the Sibelius?

To be honest, the opening movement of this early work is not very melodically engaging.

What did you expect? Franco-Austrio-Italio-Germanic music?!

Jarvi and the players did a fine job, however, infusing the work with energy and insistent phrasing.

Thank god. Nielsen is a great composer and everything, but why he wrote all of his music without energy and insistent phrasing is beyond me.

But seriously, why are we programming all this melodically unengaging (i.e. not "casual"), sluggish, submissively phrased music?

I know the Germans tried to take over the world twice in the last hundred years, but at least their music doesn't lack melodies and phrasing.

The central movement was the work’s most interesting section, with its lilting, dancelike character. Again, beautifully shaped phrases produced a delightful gem that was occasionally compromised by flaws in intonation and blend.

Why would Nielsen compose in intonation flaws?

All in all, the performance was well conceived, and violist Jessica Nance played admirably as a soloist.

No thanks to that damn Dane.

A rarely heard gem followed: Two Swedish Folk Songs, Op. 27 by Johan Severin Svendsen, a Norwegian composer.

figure Svendsen: Compositional facial hair of the week.

The brief but luxuriant works were lovely and featured lush string sonorities that could take your frosty breath away.

Ahem, one work, two Swedish folk songs.

Also, were these sonorities also rich?

Edvard Grieg’s familiar but lovely “Holberg” Suite concluded the performance.

Because familiar pieces are rarely lovely?

The crisply accented opening was impressive, but the rhythms in the most rapid sections were not quite together.

What a strangely contradictory sentence. I actually think, in music, crisp usually mean that the rhythms were played together.

The concluding Rigaudon was delightful and playful and featured technically demanding solos from violinist Gregory Sandomirsky and violist Jessica Nance.

Consider me rudely awakened.


Despite surviving our brush with socialism, let us never forget the teachings of the great Glenn Beck:

The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be "What the hell you mean we're out of missiles?"



AnthonyS said...

I've little patience for the degenerate avant garde of Grieg! None whatsoever!