Last week, I wrote in this blog about a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert in their 1904 Orchestra Hall. This week, I got to hear another CSO, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in their 1978 Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver. As you might expect, the Boettcher is modern, claiming to be the first concert hall in the round. Take a look at the collage above and you'll see the seats all around the stage. The top left photo shows the seating 'rings' that are actually suspended from the ceiling. Yes, there were people sitting in there for the concert we heard, but we could only see them when they stood to applaud. The center top photo shows the round acoustical panels also hanging from the ceiling. If you remember last week's Chicago Symphony post, I went on about roundness there, too. You must remember that my home symphony hall is the Kimmel Center where we sit inside a cello shape. Round is new to me.
|That's the facade of the Boettcher Concert Hall on the left, among its theater-siblings in the |
Denver Performing Arts Center
Next up, soprano Sara Jakubiak sang three Mozart arias. The first two ("Misera, dove son!," K.369, and "Nehmt Meinen Dank," K. 383) are concert arias intended to be sung with orchestra, and the last, "D'oreste, d'ajace," was borrowed from one of Mozart's many orchestras, Idomeneo. I couldn't help thinking about how different these two Classical composers composed. Mozart wrote smooth, singable melodies, almost catchy tunes. Beethoven occasionally came up with lyric melodies, but he is really better known for motivic development. He would take a motive, less than a complete phrase, and repeat, embellish, transpose, and otherwise alter it. [Think of the first four famous notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and how those four notes swim around in that symphony and keep popping up in different forms.]
So, we heard a Classical opera overture, and then some Classical arias, and then a Romantic-Era symphony composed by Johannes Brahms. So what's the connection there? The Brahms Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73, was premiered by the Vienna Philharmonic in 1877. Vienna, as you probably know, was called home by Mozart and Beethoven during the times they each flourished.
|Vienna (not Denver)|
There's another connection I never would have thought of. Before the concert started, Principal Trumpet Justin Bartels strolled onstage to make some announcements, and told the audience that the Beethoven and Brahms each contain trumpet solos. These solos are so important to the repertoire that they are used as audition pieces for trumpeters. Mr. Bartels had a big night!
We enjoyed the Colorado Symphony concert. Thank you, Michael Stern, for a great program, and thank you for not getting mad when the audience applauded in-between movements of the Brahms! They were just swept away, I think.
|Michael Stern, usually of the Kansas Symphony Orchestra|