You know, as the title says.
Titles are hard...we get that. But every so often a critic (or editor, as it may be) makes a truly special effort to succinctly capture the magic of the live concert-going experience.
First up, from the Times-Herald Record, the direct approach:
Review: Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra in Newburgh
Exactly. I feel like I was there.
Also in Newburgh...
Next, from the Houston Chronicle, we have the ridiculous pun:
Symphony Review: Rite a riot of orchestral color
Har har har. You see, because there was a riot at the original premiere a hundred years ago. Priceless.
My sentiments exactly.
No riots broke out at Jones Hall on Friday night as maestro Hans Graf led the Houston Symphony in Stravinsky’s explosive The Rite of Spring — in contrast to the legendary ruckus unleashed at the work’s 1913 premiere in Paris.Maybe it was more of a quiet riot?
Later dramatic bursts proved quite formidable,...
To what? Napping?
...between the slashing strings, pounding percussion, blaring brass and woodwinds that wailed and keened.
Just once I would like my string blaring, woodwinds pounding, brass slashing and percussion that keened.
Even with no dance element, this rendition of the score made it clear something wild, violent and vital was happening.
Send the women and children to safety!
Well, pagan fertility rites are not for hidebound suburbanites.
This is so true.
And lastly, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution demonstrates how you really explain a metaphor.
On fire? The musicians were on fire while playing new music and familiar Beethoven?
For long stretches, the orchestra was playing on fire.
Okay. They were on fire.
Was it something like this?
So, clearly "on fire" is a metaphor. But what exactly was on fire -- they were playing great? Everything was coming together beautifully?
It wasn't a radically different interpretation, in terms of tempos, phrasing and balances, such as the prominence given to inner voices.
Hmmm. Interesting, but I'm still not totally clear. How about an analogy to help explain the metaphor?
But like a racing yacht that accumulates an advantage in a regatta by sailing a hair closer to the wind, Knussen delivered a remarkably intense reading by trimming the orchestral sails just taut enough to drive momentum forward, just loose enough that there was never a hint of anxiety or strain or excessive loudness.
And then the orchestra caught fire...just like most racing yachts.
He had us believing that the slow second movement was about the most unexpectedly interesting work Beethoven even composed -- intelligent, loving and always deeply musical.
But, of course, we knew better.