Sunday, March 21, 2010

A musical note

I went to the Delaware Symphony performance last night.  Very good, especially the New World Symphony.  Actually, it was all good, except for the soloist, a mandolin player named Chris Thile.  He was good too, no doubt, if you like mandolin playing.  Apparently a virtuoso on this instrument (!) he played a composition of his own, in which his mandolin playing was completely drowned out by the violins.  He then played a short solo piece, and we were able to hear the mandolin, which he played very well, for a mandolin.  Who would want to devote his life to such a tiny-voiced instrument, so low-key, so reticent?

Anyone who knows me knows I prefer not to hear music by composers who are living.  I like my composers underground, safely nailed into their coffins.  Just a whimsical preference of mine.  I'm not against young people composing music.  I actually realize such activity may be necessary.  I just don't want to hear them.  Especially I don't like to hear their work when they are standing in front of me, eagerly awaiting applause.


John Salmon said...

So---if you'd been listening to a new work by Copland a few decades back you would've stood up and walked out?

miriam said...

I didn't get up and walk out when the mandolin player did his thing. And, I did hear many works by Aaron C while he was living, since he died in 1990 according to Wikipedia. I guess I also heard and liked Samuel Barber's works in his lifetime.

I may have exaggerated a wee little bit, but in general I'd go with the earlier composers.

I know someone has to compose music, and they have to be alive to do it. But mostly I don't care for contemporary music.

John Salmon said...

All this reminds me of the good old days (amybe 1995!) whne I used to go hear the Philadelphia Orchestra in the nosebleed seats for five bucks! I haven't been to the new hall it was built when I was living out of state-but I wonder how much the cheapest seat is there?

The new composers' works haven't, of course, had the chance to stand the test of the time, as Bach and the like have. I do hear some new works that intrigue me-John Adams is one composer that I like-and now that atonalism is no longer so dominant there will be more ghgod ones.

miriam said...

The Pennsylvania Orchestra are very coy about prices--you have to order tickets before they disclose prices, but sometimes they offer discounts. I paid $10 to hear Mahler's Symphony of One Thousand, and sat so near the organ that every time they played it I vibrated. Actually, it was a great experience.