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THE NEW PALS CLUB WEB-LOG

THE NEW PALS CLUB WEB-LOG
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Thursday, June 07, 2018

An Unforgettable Concert

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A local orchestra in western Massachusetts had an enticing program of Gershwin—Rhapsody in Blue, the Concerto in F, and the string orchestra version of Lullaby (not the biggest draw in that guise, but not enough to keep me away). 

First up was the Lullaby, and I got a bad feeling. They were pioneering new intervals, the Major Unison and the Minor Unison. The First Viola was quite good, playing competently in tune. If I could have applauded just for him, I surely would have. The Concerto began. I should have left after the Lullaby, but was curious about the soloist. Well, he was no First Viola. He would start each section confidently, get in trouble halfway through, and hurriedly limp to its conclusion, confident that things would work out in the next. (Narrator voice: They didn't.) A couple of minutes from the end, orchestra and soloist were so far from one another that the conductor stopped the music. Unfortunately, he started it again, and I guess they were on the same page when they finished, so thank heaven for small favors. There was a standing ovation from what I presume was an audience of family members. I neither stood nor unlimbered my hands, which remained tucked under the opposite elbows. I slipped out and listened to a good performance of the concerto on my way home.

I skimmed the Springfield Republican with interest the next couple of days, looking for a review, and was rewarded with a brief account of the triumph of the musicians, which did, however, wag its finger briefly at Mr. Gershwin for certain infelicities of orchestration which, in the opinion of the writer, made the piece unnecessarily difficult for performers. Well. That settles that, eh? Everything was just fine, and it's the composer's fault it wasn't.
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