The Americans, Part 1 – The Concert

cold Callum (& Maggie)

cold Callum (and Maggie) pre-concert

Callum’s review of the January 25, 2014 CSO MasterWorks concert
(with notes at the end from Maggie, too)…

I have already written two blog posts about this concert and one of the rehearsals, but the concert was so awesome, I decided to write one more. The concert was amazing. I loved it. André Watts played like no other pianist I’ve ever seen, and all of it was awesome. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the pre-concert lecture because the roads were terrible. I wish we had, because Mr. Albacete did it. We took my sister Maggie to the concert, too. She was really excited to go, and she loved it. She took some more notes during the concert, and they’re at the bottom of this page. The concert hall had a lot of vacant seats, unfortunately, but that’s because the roads were so bad. Mr. Zimmermann thanked the audience for coming even in the bad weather, and the orchestra applauded the audience.

The first piece they played was Foote’s Suite for strings in E major, Op. 63Rachel Waddell conducted this piece and she did a great job. The piece is only for strings, but some of it sounded almost as if there were more than just strings, because they had such a full sound. The third movement is a fugue, and I love it. It sounds sort of baroque. This piece is really beautiful, and it was played very well, of course.

Foote

The second piece they performed was the Hanson (Symphony No. 2). The principal French hornist, Meghan Guegold, is a great musician, and she did so well in her solos. The whole orchestra did an amazing job. I really enjoy hearing and seeing the orchestra perform. When you’re watching the orchestra, the timpanist kind of stands out, because he sits higher than the rest of the orchestra. I wonder what it feels like to be the timpanist. You are the highest level on the stage, so I bet it feels like everybody is watching you, which is probably a bit nerve-racking. I said before how John Williams was inspired by Hanson, especially this piece, when it comes to E.T. It’s really cool how the beginning of the third movement sounds almost just like the beginning of the music for the bike chase scene in E.T. On the soundtrack, it’s called the “Adventures on Earth” theme. I don’t know if Hanson intentionally wrote it to sound like one or not, but there is also a part in the third movement that I think sounds like a Native American dance, and I love it.

The third piece they performed was the MacDowell (Piano Concerto No. 2). This is my favorite out of the four pieces. André Watts did an amazing job, as usual, and I really loved watching him play. He even kicked his feet in the air a few times, and it was funny. I wanted to clap after the first and second movements because they were so great. I’m sure that the orchestra sounded better than ever because Mr. Watts was on the stage. He makes playing this piece on the piano look easy, even though it’s the opposite. This piece went by too fast. I was watching him and wondering how he does any of it, and never misses a note. It looks like he’s just hitting random keys, but he’s actually hitting all the right notes perfectly. Kind of like in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, when Flint was typing, he was just flopping his hands on the keyboard, but still managing to hit all the right letters: video

Watts-Detroit

The last piece they performed was the Piston (The Incredible Flutist Suite). To me, the oboes sounded like the first trickle of people coming into the circus. Usually there is just a dog bark at the end of the circus march episode, but this time, somebody added a cat screech after the dog, and it was done really well and was really funny. This piece is very high spirits, well, some of it at least. Anyway, I loved it, along with all the other pieces, and so did the rest of the audience.

I really loved this concert. André Watts did an amazing job, and so did the orchestra and Ms. Waddell and Mr. Zimmermann. And speaking of Mr. Zimmermann, while he was conducting the Hanson, he accidentally let go of his baton and it flew into the audience. We didn’t see it happen, but we saw a little girl go up to the stage right before intermission and give the baton to the concertmaster, and she put it back on Mr. Zimmermann’s music stand. Then he came out and took it off the stand and gave it to the girl to keep as a souvenir. I thought that was kind of him. Anyway, I wish the weather wasn’t so bad, because then more people would have been able to come. It was a great concert, and I can’t wait until the next one, with Brahms and Mozart, which is also the 30th anniversary of the Canton Symphony Chorus!

Here’s some of what Maggie wrote during the concert:

My brother ran back out to the car before the concert because he forgot his notebook, and he tripped over the curb twice on the way back. He couldn’t see the curb because of all the snow.

[Foote]
It’s a really beautiful piece. In the beginning of the second movement they are not using the bows to play the violins, they’re just plucking the strings. It gets really low in the middle of the movement. The violins are really pretty, and they can play really high. In this piece, Mr. Zimmermann isn’t conducting, Rachel Waddell is conducting.

[Hanson]
It starts out soft and then gets louder and louder and then softer and softer with the same tune. It is a very beautiful piece. It reminds me a lot of the beginning and end of E.T. At one part it gets really high pitched and then it gets nice and soft and then louder and louder again with the same tune it started with in the beginning of the piece. Then it gets softer and softer with the same tune again and again. It’s so beautiful. You can really hear the tuba and violins. The violins were not playing for a minute and then they started playing again. You can really hear the flutes and violins with all the other instruments in the orchestra. At one part it gets a lot lower with the tuba and the double basses. Its so, so, so beautiful. At another part, only the flutes play, and then only the big drum plays. At another part, it gets really fast and super super loud as they speed up the piece, and then stops and gets softer again.

[MacDowell]
It’s the most beautiful piece yet. Mr. Watts is really good at playing the piano. He is the best piano player I have ever seen. It is so beautiful. It is amazing how they can all play together like that with some people playing different tunes and how they don’t get distracted by everyone else. Mr. Zimmermann is a really good conductor. Everyone in the orchestra is so good at playing music, especially Andre Watts the piano player. He is amazing. It’s amazing how he doesn’t get one note wrong. He can play so fast at exactly the right time. There is a part that sort of reminds me of the Nutcracker and another part of it reminds me of Toy Story 3. I don’t know why.

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