Sunday, January 27, 2008


Friday night my friend Phil and I went to the Madison Symphony Orchestra. It was amazing. I kept wanting to write things down as the concert progressed, but was without a pen. Here is what I remember...

The conductor, Arild Remmereit, conducted the first piece without a score. I noticed he also did the same "loud nose breathing" I remember our band director belting out during rests. Naturally, he did the typical bouncy-arm-waving-shenanigans most conductors do during an intense portion of a piece. At the same time, after said shenanigans, it seemed like he came to a complete stop. From the seats we had, I couldn't notice his left arm but it was like it was hanging dead at his side. It was as though all the intensity had set the orchestra up to perform without his direction - his baton drew boring vertical strokes up and down in the air, letting the musicians play on autopilot.

Enter guest violinist Jennifer Frautschi. Holy crap. Her face was intense the entire time she was performing. When she wasn't, she had a look of boredom, or almost disgust, as if to say "why am I just standing here?" She was amazing, and according to the program she plays a violin crafted in 1772. Phil pointed out the double stops while she was playing, which are kind of a big deal if you play the violin. I don't, but two notes at once wasn't lost on me.

Finally, during Hall of the Mountain King, the first Violist broke a bow string. Phil had fond memories of this. I had nothing to compare it to, as I never broke a drumstick. I dropped one three times during a parade, though.

So, in the end, I'll go back. It was totally worth wearing a tie.

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