This past Saturday, I had the good fortune to return to the Ohio Theater to hear the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of the new year: Vienna Dances. How exciting! I hurriedly dressed in my white, sequined jacket and bellbottoms, grabbed my dancing shoes and went out to meet up with John Travolta for a thrilling night of dancing.
To my utter surprise there was no disco ball hanging from the ceiling of the Ohio Theater.
Instead, we were all treated to a night of dances from Romantic-era composers J. Strauss, R. Strauss, Brahms and Mozart that were popular in Vienna. What a delight! OK, so Mozart was from the classical era, but I’ll take his music anytime!
The evening started out with a Strauss overture to Die Fledermaus. Don’t know what a Fledermaus is? That’s OK because I don’t either. However the music was a ton of fun! It was almost bouncy – happy – joyous, even!
The next piece was Strauss’ (another Strauss) Burleske in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra. Pianist Marc-André Hamelin, another terrific Canadian import, did a wonderful job with this fun piece
Maestro Zeitouni went on to play a few Hungarian dances by Brahms. Don’t recognize them by name? Don’t worry – I didn’t either, but I did recognize them when I heard them, and couldn’t help but clapping my hands off with a huge grin afterwards. Didn’t think I could like waltzes this much.
During intermission, I took it upon myself to change seats and move back a few rows since a very tall man had been sitting in front of me. On a positive note, there were plenty of empty seats available which allowed me to do that. On a negative note, there were plenty of empty seats available which allowed me to do that. Where are you, Columbus? You have this amazing musical talent at your disposal, super easy and convenient parking (State House Lot – $4 only) yet you stayed home. Yes – some tickets can be super expensive and like me, you may end up trading off haircuts and highlights in favor of going, but once in a while – that $25 for the ticket just may be what the doctor ordered. Yes – I sit in the cheap seats – $25 each – and am very high up, but did you know that there’s simply not a bad seat in the house – especially up in the balcony? The view is good (albeit a tad high) and the sound is wonderful.
I’m a fan of the balcony for that very reason: the wonderful sound. Even if given the choice, I wouldn’t sit in the orchestra section. For starters, I’m short and everybody who sits in front of me is not. But the more important reason is the sound itself. Why do I go to the symphony? To hear music, of course! I’m not there to gab with someone during the performance, that’s why there’s an intermission. No, I go for the music and if I’m sitting in the orchestra section, the orchestra itself is potentially higher up than I am which means the sound travels right over me. Plus, if sitting in the front, I hear whatever section happens to be right there in front. I can’t get a full appreciation of the ensemble’s full output at that level. However, if sitting in the balcony, the sound has a chance to blend quite nicely before working its way up to greet me. Finally, it’s always nice to be able to see all the musicians.
Sure, I would love to sit right by the pianist while he’s playing, but if the CSO has yet to take me up on my offer to be a seat filler for the clarinet section they sure as heck aren’t going to let me sit right next to the pianist during a performance.
OK fine. I’ll settle for sitting next to the pianist during a rehearsal.
Can’t blame a girl for trying.
After Intermission we came back to Strauss’ Emperor Waltz and a slightly-out-of-place Classical era piano piece by Mozart, the Concert-Rondo in D Major. This was my favorite piece of the evening despite its being the least showy of them all, but I’m hopelessly biased when it comes to Classical, Baroque or Early music. Everything else is too heavy or too funky for me and yes, that pretty much includes all Romantic-era and 20th Century music, though don’t worry – I have plenty of exceptions from those two centuries!
The concert ended with the Strauss Suite from Der Rosenkavalier which resulted in a standing ovation and a bunch of “BRAVO”s being yelled out in the section next to mine!
Mr. Hamelin did a wonderful job on the piano. He had a very light and happy touch – nothing too heavy or overbearing. The program stated that he started piano lessons at age 5, too. Music is so important – not something to ever be denied someone, no matter what age. Look what he became! He’s playing concert halls all over the world including, thankfully, right here in Columbus for us all to enjoy. Bravo, sir! Bravo!
I really do recommend taking a moment to look at the upcoming schedule and pick out at least one concert to attend. There are some really good ones coming up, too. This Saturday, for example, promises a great performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the first weekend in February will be a great performance of Mozart and Haydn’s music. The Mozart and Haydn concert is the one to which I’m taking Mom and Dad because that’s their favorite, too. These two concerts present the music that is probably most popularly known although Rite of Spring is coming up in March.
You can even make these concerts a last-minute idea for an evening’s worth of entertainment. Last weekend when I was there, my 500-seat section up top was at about 10-15% capacity.
Come on, Columbus! Help me fill it up and I PROMISE to leave my sequins and bellbottoms at home!