Saint-Saëns, Franck.

Awesome! SLSO’s ‘French Impressions’ concert was very good. Ravel’s ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin’ is always beautiful. I hadn’t heard the orchestration, but I do like the piano version. The ‘Sarabande’ was fair. 

The Saint-Saëns ‘Piano Concerto No. 2’ was the highlight for me. I really must have a thing for classical  period piano concertos. I suppose this was post-classical. I heard someone say neo-classical, but when I think about neo-classicism I think about late Stravinsky, so I’m going to go ahead and say that it was post-classical. I loved it. I’ve been too busy with finals to go out and get a recording, but I’m going to.

Marc-André Hamelin was incredible. A few of my pianist friends say that he has the best technique in the world right now, and I couldn’t really disagree with that. I haven’t heard every pianist in the world, but the latter movements of the Saint-Saëns lead me to believe that he knows what he’s doing. Speaking of Saint-Saëns, I’m listening to his Symphony No. 3 “Organ” right now. Really a fantastic piece.

The Franck Symphony in D minor was disappointing. The SLSO played it well, but I didn’t feel like it was a strong symphony. The first movement had epic ambitions, but it was actually somewhat substance-less to me. The second movement was static, and the third movement started off well, but lost my interest. I never really understood Franck- he’s famous for such a small body of work. I know there are other composers that are about as prolific (Berlioz, Mussorgsky…) but I feel like their contributions are more significant. I must be missing something- maybe I need to hear more of his organ works. I guess I’ll have to add “Investigate Franck” to my list of things to do this summer.

After the ‘French Impressions’ concert, Ethan and I went to lunch with one of the violinists from the orchestra. I won’t use the person’s name, however I will say that I learned some really exciting gossip about Joshua Bell’s sex life and also about what Richard Goode smells like  (and as I wrote this, I put on his ‘Waldstein’ recording and realized that I don’t care how he smells because he blows my mind). 

I don’t have too much else to say at the moment. I’m in the middle of finals right now. Almost done with my Mahler paper, now titled ‘Existential Issues and Mahler’s Second Symphony’.

With the small bits of free time I’ve had, I’ve been reading ‘Silence’ by John Cage. Some serious music philosophy in there. More on that when I have time to finish it.

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