‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pretentia goes to the symphony

I am a pretentious prat. When I tell people I'm going to symphony and they ask "Boston?" I get a weird apologetic tone in my voice as I answer "no, Cape Cod." Of the many, many moronic things I do on a regular basis, this has to be in the top five. At this moment, I have never been so proud to be a (freeloading child of a) Cape Cod Symphony subscriber.

Today's concert was expletive inducing. It started with "Water Music" by Tan Dun. You may know Tan Dun from such hits as the soundtrack of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the official music for the Beijing Olympics. In the front of the stage were four large basins of water, with uplights shining through them onto the ceiling. Soloist Christopher Lamb, principle percussionist with New York Philharmonic, played two of the basins. The other two were played by CCSO musicians. How do you play a basin of water, you ask? Mighty fine question. But Lamb made it sound like ducks feeding and fish splashing. And then he put a wooden disk in one and played it like a xylophone. Oh, and then they all got these gongs and played them with violin bows while dipping them in and out of water. Completely and fabulously eerie, that. The music was lyrical and witty and completely entrancing on every imaginable level. I was heartbroken when it stopped.

This from someone who as a child used to watch the music and try to gauge how many pages were left.

As if that were not enough, they also played a piece composed by kids at Wixon Middle School. It was part of the education outreach that the symphony does. And it did not make me hide under my seat and refuse to come out. I don't know what they're teaching these kids, but I hope they're still doing it when mine are old enough to participate.

And as if THAT were not enough, they also collaborated with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute - which I have a huge crush on. It was an homage to Jacques Cousteau and included a WHOI video.

Really, it's a good thing I had curry for lunch, otherwise I would have run right out afterwards and kissed Jung-Ho Pak. I have a crush on him, too.

I might also have a crush on Christopher Lamb. "Water Music" was composed for him, and not in a "oh, this piece has your name all over it" kind of way. Tan Dun composed this specifically for Christopher Lamb. Who, incidentally, is a veteran of the Colorado Philharmonic (which I wrote about recently). Small world, no? Since he played with the CPO, my mom wanted to go backstage and see him afterwards. We were disappointed to find he'd gone. I usually dislike going back stage and stalking artists, but this time I probably would have feigned a fainting spell in his arms.

My mom may also have a crush on Christopher Lamb, but not because of his Tan Dun street cred. She likes the classics, thank you. For the people like her in the audience, Pak included a bit from Ma Vlast (Smetana) and Debussy's La Mer. But please, anyone can do that. Even Boston.

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