This past weekend, I saw Edgar Meyer perform with the South Carolina Philharmonic. Since I am often a jaded classical musician and describe myself as more of a “new music guy”, I don’t often spend my time and money at the symphony these days. However, I was pleasantly surprised by much of what happened over the course of the evening. So here are three things that made the evening rather enjoyable.
I am sure I am not alone in thinking that bass concertos can sometimes be sort of lame. It’s not their fault, it is only because the bass is so low that the orchestra has to be either small, soft, or both in order for it to be heard. HOWEVER, Edgar Meyer playing his own bass concerto as well as that of Bottesini was AWESOME! He is truly in control of his instrument and I did not have any trouble hearing him the whole time. The bass was amplified, granted, but he played like a true soloist.
After Edgar Meyer’s last concerto, my fiend and I found ourselves wondering where he was going for a drink (and if we should go find him), when we saw him walk back on stage. After playing his solos, he joined the bass section for the final work of the program. This was the ultimate good-guy move to me. Most soloists play their gig and leave but he wanted to stick around and play some more! He plays like the best soloists of the world but has maintained down-to-earth generosity of spirit. We need more of these kinds of people in the music world!
Looking at the order of pieces for the evening, I found the programming a bit odd. The orchestra had scheduled Mozart’s 38th symphony to follow the virtuosity of one of the leading bassists of all time. I fully expected to fall asleep during the last 25 minutes of the program and be underwhelmed by the progression of energy. HOWEVER, conductor Morihiko Nakahara led the orchestra in a lively and passionate interpretation of the work. It came off as charming and fun with Mozart’s quirkiness shining throughout. As someone who has heard quite enough classical symphonies for his own good, I had a good time watching this performance!
So the next time I think I will skip out on a performance by my local orchestra because I am too jaded to enjoy such things, I will remember this performance and reconsider.