Heritage High and Mahler
Sue was out of town this weekend with her granddaughter, and I heard that the Portland Symphony was offering Mahler's 4th, so when the migraine eased, I took myself to the matinee and was metaphorically knocked to my knees by the beauty of it. The conductor was David Danzmayr, who is particularly admired for his Mahler interpretations. He directed it at a faster tempo than I've heard before, and he made wonderful use of silences. Complete. Utter. Silences.
We have a program in Portland that offers $5 tickets to low-income people like me, and our seats are usually right down front. As I sat there on the front row, which is like sitting IN the orchestra, I asked myself why I would EVER miss a symphony performance. There's nothing equal to it, and it's a million times better than listening to a recorded performance because you can smell the musicians' hair and armpits, you can feel the breeze from the flip of a page, and the strings and the tympany vibrate in your breastbone. Why would anyone miss this?
The photo is of the Heritage High School Orchestra performing on the mezzanine before the symphony began. Heritage High, in nearby Vancouver, Washington, is sometimes in the news for campus violence, but I see their new music director has done wonders with this crowd. They were terrific. (They were not playing Mahler. I think it was Sibelius.)