Monday, 26 August 2013

Fort Worth Symphony "From Russia with Love" concerts

While listening to the local classic FM station on 101.1MHz  on the way to work last Monday I heard adverts for a three concert series this weekend entitled "From Russia with Love" by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. They normally do a series of three concerts on a theme as an intro to the concert season; this year the three were dedicated to the memory of Van Cliburn who died earlier this year

A total of Six pieces all by Russian composers with three piano pieces played by Cliburn 2013 medalists and three russian Symphonies; not to be missed, so tickets were purchased. $18 each for the 3 concerts in the centre of the lower mezamine

I drove the 47 miles to Fort Worth direct from work on friday evening and even had enough time for banana spring rolls desert in PF Chang 3 blocks from the concert hall in the usual pre-concert ritual.

Friday night started with a eulogy to Van cliburn which was inaudible due to the bad PA audio (still) in the Bass Hall  The first half  had Beatrice Rana, the 2013 Silver medalist (wearing a silver sparkly dress as a reminder?) playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. . The first movement was a bit slow and she was overpowered by the orchestra at times but very enjoyable. Her encore was the Schumann-Liszt composition, Widmung. The second half was the FTWSO playing Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Fort worth star telegram review. One other feature  of the Bass hall is a Starbucks across the road in the Barnes and Noble bookshop which serves coffee until midnight, you dont get that after theatre in Malvern!

Saturday night had Italian pianist Alessandro Deljavan a 2013 semi finalist (rumoured not to have progressed further because of facial/body contortions while playing!) playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2  in the first half which was a very different interpretation than normally heard . . His encore was the Chopin’s B minor Etude which was stunning. The second half was the FTWSO playing Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 underwhelmingly.  Fort worth star telegram review.

Sunday afternoon  had Sean Chen, the 2013 Third place playing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. in the first half (same piece he played in the Cliburn final 11 weeks previously).  His encore was a mystery until afterwards due to the awful pa system in the Bass Hall (just as bad as during the Cliburn competition)."Chen turned to two violinists and two cellists in the symphony and asked each of them to play a note of their choice. He then returned to his piano bench and did about three minutes of improvisation on those four notes."  A first for Bass hall!. The second half the FTWSO playing Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique) which was well played but the most memorable part was the raspy sounds produced by the horns   Fort worth star telegram review.

The east angel on the front of the Bass Hall.  They were hewn from solid marble in California then shipped to Texas. The head fell off the first one to arrive and had to be remade from scratch and reshipped

53 mile drive back to the apartment; an enjoyable weekend!

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