Audiences Pleased By Audience-Pleasing Music

Recently, the San Antonio Symphony introduced a new music director. Let's check in and see how things are doing so far.

FIRST TAKE: So this is how it is going to be with new Music Director Lang-Lessing — …

…let’s say…yes?

…programs of bold, vivid, purpose-driven and audience-pleasing music.

I know, depressing prospect isn’t it.

figure purpose-driven: Rick Warren knows why I'm here on Earth. I'm guessing to help get more tax cuts for rich people. Really, is there any other purpose in life?

Though, it does beg the question what “purpose-driven” music is exactly.

It is one thing to schedule such music,…

Yes, that is “one thing”.

But, is it difficult to schedule programs of audience-pleasing music? In my experience, it takes some real cojones to schedule music that isn’t audience-pleasing.

…but another matter to deliver it with authentic, crisp precision and emotion like Lang-Lessing did in his first regular subscription concert.

Wow, sounds like you guys are really lucky getting the authentic performances of audience-pleasing music while all the rest of us suckers are stuck with disingenuous concerts of meandering, inexact music.

So what was this music so in need of some authentic crispness?

The two Franz Liszt tone poems, “Mazzepa” and “Les Préludes,” sizzled with electricity at every turn of their musical stories.

You guys got bold, vivid and authentic versions of the Liszt tone poems?! I’m so freaking jealous!

But I thought you mentioned something about “audience-pleasing”?

The performance of Antonin Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,”…


…nailed every emotion from tender nostalgia and spirituality to triumph.

Every emotion? Really? Now, I know that you must be exaggerating.

Everyone knows that it’s not humanly possible to nail every emotion in the New World Symphony.

figure care bears: Also nailed every emotion, and learned a valuable lesson at the end of each episode too!

Sure, most orchestras get the nostalgia and triumph. But what about the submissive contempt of the Poco sostenuto in the third movement? Most orchestras cop out with no more than amenable condescension.

OF NOTE: The solo star in the Dvorák symphony was English horn player Stephanie Shapiro, who performed the “Going Home” theme...

Seriously, people, the spiritual is based on Dvorak’s theme, not the other way around.

…performed the “Going Home” theme as if singing in a human voice.

See, I like my English horn sounding like an English horn. I guess I’m just funny that way.

Lang-Lessing extended the concert with a sparkling encore, leading the orchestra in one of the Slavonic Dances from Dvorák’s Opus 46.

Truly purpose-driven...or was that audience-pleasing?

And, in other news:

Citing "budget constraints" but no red ink, Vallejo Symphony leaders have canceled the second half of the critically acclaimed orchestra's four-concert season and promised "rebuilding" on firmer financial footing in the months to come.

That’s unfortunate. What happened?

[T]he orchestra's board of directors on Jan. 13 voted to "cease operations for the balance of the season," a decision that came just days after the symphony's recent concert featuring several pieces of new contemporary music.

Oh. I see.


And, thank you to our loyal readers for your patience. We apologize for the lack of updates in the recent months, and hope to post more often soon. Who knew that newborns needed so much attention?


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