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Sun, 14 Dec 2003
Marvellous neighbors
Julie and I got to go on a date today to go and hear the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra. The symphony has a new music director, Elizabeth Stoyanovich, who happens to live diagonally across the street from us. The concert theme was "Home for the Holidays", and featured selections from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet, symphonic and choral holiday pieces, and a number of selections by the Patrick Stoyanovich Jazz Trio. Yes, it turns out that Patrick lives diagonally across the street from us as well. Another neighbor, Kate Deveaux, was running around taking photographs during the concert, making it quite the neighborhood affair.

Live music is just one of those things. I mentioned that we're enjoying a revived (and modernized) stereo system at home. But live concerts remind me that we just have so far to go before recorded music can compare to live music. Maybe it's jus t that we don't get to very many concerts, but I really enjoyed sitting in an auditorium, listening, and at times almost physically feeling the vibrations of the music. There's that spatial feeling, you know what I mean. There's another aspect of music that you miss when listening to a recording, and that's getting a sense of the interplay among the human performers. When the trio was playing with the orchestra, there was an interplay of Elizabeth looking to Patrick for cues, or Patrick exchanging cues with his bass player or drummer. The music seems more human, more real, when you can see it go back and forth amongst the instrumentalists and between the trio and the orchestra. Really enjoyable. I'm intrigued to see husband and wife pairings (although really it was wife/husband in this case) in various settings. I don't imagine that the Stoyanovich's get to do concerts like today's very often. It turns out that Patrick arranged almost all of the pieces to work the collaboration with the symphony. It's one thing to know that your neighbors do this stuff for a living, but it's another thing entirely to see them in action.

It's also rare that I sit down and immerse myself in a piece of music. I just feel too guilty taking up that much time paying attention to a single piece of music, so invariably music is an accompaniment to something else. For me, that made the concert wonderful, the chance to devote myself to listening, without guilt, and with a suspension of the pressures of time. The last 4 weeks have been very intense, starting a new job, being on the road, etc. This afternoon I really was able to relax and enjoy the music. As I relaxed, I found my thoughts drifting around various topics. I looked at the symphony orchestra and the jazz trio, such different ways of making music. One carefully planned and lead, the other mixing planning and improvisation, and passing "control" of the music amongst itself. Each producing a work of beauty.

The Bremerton Symphony is composed of volunteer players, and this was our first hearing, and I didn't quite know what to expect. Funny that I expect volunteers to be able to produce world class software, but I was apprehensive about volunteers producing high quality music. In this case, my apprehensions turned out to be unwarranted. All of the holiday/pops selections were well done. The Nutcracker excerpts were also well done, though the brass section seemed to have some minor hiccups. The harp work was memorably pleasant, and the section with the jazz trio was worth the price of admission alone. Probably the weakest (for me) aspect of the performance was the string of choral selections. Most of these were done acapella, which is fine, but I felt strangely unmoved by most of them.

On the whole, we had a great time, and I'm sure that we'll be looking for more opportunities to catch the Bremerton Symphony.

[23:34] | [culture/music] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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