Friday, November 21, 2008

Bach, Bloch, & Prokofiev

As supporters of the orchestra, we were invited to an open rehearsal this morning of the CSO performing several pieces. The first was the Concerto for Keyboard in D by JS Bach, featuring conductor Jeffrey Kahane at the keyboard. I didn't know before the rehearsal, but it's simply a reworking of the ubiquitous E major Violin Concerto. It was interesting hearing it reorchestrated. However, the orchestra was too big for the piano, and the piano sound was overwhelmed. In addition, the theater-in-the-round design of the hall forced them to remove the piano lid, which never sounds right to me.

The second piece was Bloch's Schelomo, which is not one of my favorite pieces. The few memorable moments in the piece are overly melodramatic.

The highlight of the show was Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony, his most serious work, and a great orchestral showpiece. It runs the full gamut of emotions, from the dissonance of the WWII years when it was written, to the light-hearted second movement. The orchestra sounded absolutely fantastic, and I've yet to see better conducitng from Kahane. I'm very impressed.

They perform this concert tomorrow night as well.
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