Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vienna Philharmonic EPIC!

I am unsure how to write about today!  The musical experience was so breath taking my words will not do it justice.  But I will try nonetheless.

We woke at a decent hour and there was a gorgeous dusting of snow on the ground in Salzburg.

We ate breakfast a loaded the bus for Vienna!  Once we arrived about 4 hours later we checked in and went directly to the Musikverein

So we got to the famous hall where the Vienna Philharmonic plays and to say that the class was excited would be the largest understatement in the history of understatements!  We were buzzing realizing just how much of a unique experience this truly was.  The orchestra came on to stage and the Concert Master looked out at the audience as if to tell them to stop talking (the place was buzzing) so they could tune.

George Pretre was the conductor and he was fairly unknown to me though it is clear that he has earned a very solid reputation.  His oobvious musicianship was clear and if I am any judge, the orchestra loved him!

It began with Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.  The first movement was absolutely electric, the joy that jumped off the stage was nothing short of enchanting.  The second movement started and the air felt like it was taken from us as the haunting theme and driving yet gentle and incessant rhythm was so beautiful that I looked up and saw tears in the eyes of many students.  I think they truly appreciate just how special a performance that was.  The third and fourth movements also did not disappoint and we felt the sense of joy Beethoven must have felt in 1812, hopeful for the eventual liberation of Vienna.

Then came The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky.  The orchestra showed a muscular energy along with incredible delicacy.  The soloists were brilliant and so artful. We were literally shocked when the first sfozando hit, it was so precise, so musical!  Then the energy just was beyond words.

Finally came Bolero by Maurice Ravel.  Never have I heard a performance of this work that was so elastic.  The piece cries for some play in the rhythm but so much was unbelievably effective and the orchestra was completely on the same page!  It was sensual and lovely.  

All in all I have never been to a concert that inspired so much awe.  The Orchestra played so musical, so soft, so loud, turned so many elegant phrases, unbelievable.  At dinner afterward it was clear that we all felt the same way.  There was an amazing buzz in our conversation!  

Karla Stoermer's face sums it up quite well I think!

Music heard live!!  It is the only way to experience it.  This was indeed the best concert I have ever seen.  I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to share this with PLU students!  WOW!!!


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