Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Don's Blog St Louis Symphony Special Open Rehearsal

My friend Dave lives in E, coloradostes Park and was able to visit this week. On Thursday we went to a friends 
of the Symphony Event at Powell Hall. I was an Open Rehearsal and filled the lower level. Dave and I sat in the second open row on the right. The musicians put their instrument cases in the first few rows.

Here you can see the pre-start tune-up with the St Louis symphony Chorus in the background. To the left of the podium in the brick red shirt is Concertmaster and First Violin David Halen. David runs the Innsbrook Music festival in the summer.
The practise was run by guest conductor Sir Andrew Davis. They started by playing Belshazzar's Feast which William Walton wrote in 1929 at the age of 27. The words sung by the chorus were shown on the white screen 
behind the orchestra.

They played this mesmerizing piece straight through without stopping. Belshazzar of Babylon commanded his followers to drink from the sacred vessels taken from the temple of the Jews. In the midst of the revelry "as they  feasted came forth fingers of a man's hand and the King saw the part of the hand that wrote: "MENE.MENE, TEKEL UPHARSIN" "THOU ART WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE AND FOUND WANTING". And then Belshazzar is slain -SLAIN! - the chorus almost shouts as Babylon falls and the Jews are delivered. The piece gets inside your body. After this the conductor turned and asked the chorus director Amy Kaiser for her reactions and they worked on three minor parts.

There was a 20 minute intermission and the chorus left. Most of us went to the lobby for cookies and drinks. It reminded me of an intermission at a Blues hockey game - only th audience here was on average 40 years older.


After the intermission the conductor and the orchestra worked on one piece: Edward Elgar's Falstaff-
Symphonic study in c minor, op.68. They worked long and hard with many re-plays. At one time the conductor turned to the audience and said," I know this is very boring, but we have to do it."

For me it was an evening of great entertainment.

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