Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Symphony Rules 2

Last week, Ken and I went to the Symphony and saw the new music director/principal conductor Ludovic Morlot.  As I mentioned in my prior post about the Symphony, he is 37, and his influence can already be felt, despite the fact we attended the Sonic Evolution program in which we expecting a whole different type of crowd. The program paid homage to Kurt Cobain, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix then featured a KEXP darling called Hey Marseilles with the backing of the orchestra so the audience skewed way younger than I have ever seen it.  And the energy was electrifying.  To have people our age and younger all around us was a rare treat at the symphony.
But another rare experience was having 3 living composers provide works that were debuted in front of a live audience and then have them come up on stage and take bows.  That was how the masters in the Classical music collective did it, I guess.  But let me be honest: modern composers have such a plight not to be derivative of the masters, push the symphonic construct to the edge and be distinct.  It's a tall order when you consider a lot of brilliant, listenable music already exists in 2011.  So they create musical landscapes that are layered, discordant and unique--only as far as no one with musical education has thought to put these certain sounds together.  Excuse my vulgarness, but the three pieces--especially the Jimi Hendrix and the Kurt Cobain tributes--seemed like musical masturbation.  Formless, self-indulgent and not nearly as satisfying as the real thing.  Still, it is a triumph to have new blood, new attendees, new interest and new music filling Benaroya Hall.  Hey Marseilles, amply backed by the full orchestra, was breath-taking even if it might be a bit unorthodox.  Despite my opinion though, I fully support Maestro Morlot for taking chances and making the old new again.  I look forward to more that will probably test my comfort level and expectations.

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