750 B Street, San Diego
While I was fuming about Lang Lang during the intermission, I saw my old friend Gerry two rows over. We chatted a bit about the trumpets sounding better this year. He mentioned how tight and balanced the orchestra is sounding and I concurred.
Gerry had missed the first half of the concert so I tried to express my disappointment with the soloist. His wife had heard the Rachmaninoff and observed that the piano itself sounded thin and tinny.
I had to admit that was true but the piano the previous week had sounded magnificent in Rhapsody in Blue. Gerry said, “Well, you know, some of these guys travel with their own piano and the symphony usually has at least two or three.”
We went back to our seats for the second half of the concert. As Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 progressed, I felt music return to the hall. I felt my brain relax as the sequence of notes started to flow.
This was music-making. This was a pure expression of joy in melody and tone. This was a beautiful performance.
The Lang Lang mess of the first half of the concert served to emphasize how good the San Diego Symphony Orchestra is when it gets down to playing beautiful music, beautifully.
There was no need to interpret Dvorak’s music. Maestro Ling and the orchestra communicated Dvorak’s music.
That’s what musicians do. They communicate. A great orchestra can take the past ideas of a composers and bring them across time and space into the present moment and share them with an audience.
Maestro Ling and the orchestra did that with the Dvorak Eighth and it washed the dust off of my soul.