Review comes with ups, downs...but mostly downs

Barbara Zuck, writing for the Columbus Dispatch, reviewed two works she knew and one she didn't...guess which one she didn't like.

Pianist, guest maestro come with ups, downs

But they're both tops in our hearts.

The Columbus Symphony performed at its best for much of last night's "Classical 5" concert,...

..."for much" of the concert? Oh boy, I can't wait to hear where they fucked up.

And "Classical 5"? What does the 5 stand for? ... 5 pieces? At 5 o'clock? 5 drink minimum? Little help, eh.

...presented at a crowded Ohio Theatre under the leadership of guest conductor Andreas Delfs.

A program with an unfamiliar contemporary piece...

"Unfamiliar" and "contemporary" -- the double whammy of impending "I tried to like it" rationalizations.

...combined with two very famous works brimmed with potential pitfalls of diverse sorts.


Diverse sorts of pitfalls? Such as...?

I hope they're something like this pitfall:

figure atari: Harry, watch out for those crazy rolling logs!

So, which pitfalls should we be on the look for? If there's one thing I've learned from Pitfall it was that crocodiles always chomp their jaws in unison, and they can't eat you if you stand on their eyes. Hope that helps.

Delfs, a native of Germany with a long list of professional experiences, strategically avoided most of these to make a strong and successful first impression.

Oh, I forgot this was a review, we don't have time for explanations -- kind of like an episode of 24.

Needless to say, I think we're all relieved that Delfs was here to save us from the unnamed pitfalls.

Roberto Sierra's Fandangos, a CSO premiere, had listeners scratching their heads: Is this piece for real -- or just a lot of "bull?"

Bullshit?! [Don't worry, it's all right, you can swear on the internets.] You wanted to know if his piece was bullshit?

Seriously, Barbara, with all due respect, but when was the last time you were punked at the symphony concert?

figure douchebag: "Yo! That Sierra piece was totally whack, and you so fell for it! You should have seen your face, thinking 'I kind of like this piece'. But no, it totally sucks donkey scrotum. What a fucking awesome joke, don't you think?"

[Thinks to himself: Do the kiddies still say "whack"? or "yo"? Whatever.]

So, why don't you tell us a little bit about this bullshit pitfall.

Replete with Carmen references, Fandangos also contained terrific flute and percussion flourishes.

Okay, cool. Some great flute playing and and some gratuitous percussion vomit impressed. Who doesn't love those things? And of course, the piece referenced...Carmen? Wait, are you sure, or are you just bullshitting me?

Let me just check the program notes. Hey, these are the same notes you read.


"Hispanic"..."Ligeti"..."lively dance from Spain"..."Mozart"..."Boccherini and the Scarlatti"..."Like Ravel in his
Boléro".... Nope, no Carmen reference.

Now, I've seen more than a few episodes of Matlock, so I think, utilizing my amazing powers of deduction, I can figure out this little pitfall of logic myself.

You see, it's my contention that you listened to this piece, having read that it's named after and based on a historical Spanish dance, and thought to yourself, "this piece sounds Spanish-y". And since
Carmen, a famous opera set in Spain, features many Spanish dances you figured that all Spanish-sounding dances are from Carmen. Therefore, all Spanish-y music is a reference to Carmen. Right?

And then you used the paperweight on Mr. McKenzie's desk to bludgeon him to death. And then you framed his wife, Kathy, because you never liked her. Ever since she forgot your name at the company picnic and said the jello dessert you brought was "runny" you've held a grudge. Haven't you?

figure not Perry Mason: Matlock likes hot dogs.

But you hinted that you didn't like the piece...please, tell us why.

Yet last night's performance came across as both too slow and too loud -- an odd and not especially welcome combination.

Well, why didn't you just say so? Slow?! and Loud?!!! Fuck me. No wonder you thought the piece was bullshitting you.

Guest artist Andre Watts,...

Oh, right, there was a soloist mentioned in the title as well. Let's see what "ups, downs" his portion of the show provided.

...long a star of stage and concert hall, gave a highly musical performance as soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor").

Great, this must be the "ups" part of the concert.

Yet Watts' reading was strangely uneven...

Can a "strangely uneven" reading be "highly musical"? Hmmm...

Guess so.

...and one couldn't help but wonder whether a bothersome noise -- reportedly from a patron's hearing aid -- interrupted his train of thought.

Reportedly? Way to crack the case, Columbo.

What, did you get that from the police blotter? Is the patron with the hearing aid a suspect in the case, or merely a person of interest?

figure greatest lawyer ever: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to prove to you not only that Hearing Aid Man is guilty, but that he is also innocent of not being guilty."

In any case, the best music-making from the sometimes theatrical soloist came in the third movement.

Isn't that always the case, the best music-making is always in the last place you listen.

And enough already with the Beethoven concerto. Three whole sentences?! What are you, fucking Wikipedia? I've got things to do, what else was "ups" on the concert?

Brahms' Second Symphony figures prominently in Columbus Symphony history; it was one of the works performed at the orchestra's Carnegie Hall appearance in 2001.

That was a thoroughly amazing performance. It'd take quite the enjoyable, valid interpretation to displace the memory of that historic rendition.

Last night's very different reading might not have displaced the memory of that historic rendition. But it was certainly an equally enjoyable, and equally valid, interpretation.

Enjoyably valid, but not enough to displace...hmmm...that is a quandary.

Help me break it down some. What were some of its attributes?

Among its attributes: a big, full orchestral sound; gorgeous horn and woodwind playing, most notably in the third movement; and the true sense of joy and euphoria in the finale.

Yep, I think I know enough to displace the 2001 performance from my memory and replace it with this one.

Done and done.


Sator Arepo said...

Activision reference: +1 point.
Lionel Hutz: +1 point.
Making me look at Ashton Kutcher's crotch: minus one million points.

Gustav said...

Terribly sorry, SA. Will do my best to leave Ashton Kutcher's crotch out of my future posts...however, I can't make any promises.

Sator Arepo said...

I ask nothing of you. I just figured you'd want to know what your score is. You know, for kids.

AnthonyS said...

I totally expect to see the ass of the guy who played "Stifler" in your next post. I sense a trope coming on!

And seriously... contemplating a piece being "bull" in a review = epic fail. Even more so if the use of the term is some kind of pun about matadors.