Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Orchestra Feeds

Kudos to Kirk Muspratt and the New Philharmonic this past weekend. Besides playing a beautiful concert which featured a commissioned work for harp and orchestra by Doug Lofstrom, they also helped families in need. Through the Orchestras Feeding America campaign, New Philharmonic patrons donated more that 800 food items which will go to project partner People's Resource Center for distribution. I encourage you to check out the People's Resource Center if you are unfamiliar with the good work they do in our community and think of them year round. Thanks to our always generous patrons and to the New Phil for feeding our spirits.

be well

Monday, March 1, 2010

Guest Blogger - Kirk Muspratt

What could be more classy, interesting, and in-touch than taking someone to a symphony concert? No matter whether you are taking your sweetheart, parent, child, sibling, neighbor, or BFF, inviting them to a concert of heart-pounding music is a complete winner of a choice.

AND – it’s TCHAIKOVSKY!! Yes, the same dude who wrote the 1812 cannon-blasting piece we love every 4th of July and who also wrote “Romeo and Juliet” and “Sleeping Beauty”. He is the apotheosis of romantic composers. Yeah, there were the Mendelssohns before him - - but by the time he wrote his 5th Symphony in 1888, they were longgggg gone and so very much has happened in the world, like two industrial revolutions.

What does that have to do with Tchaikovsky, you ask? By the 1870s men were working in huge factories getting wages, belong to unions, and thus they had a say in things; their opinions became important. Tchaikovsky’s audience that loved his music were no longer the rich land barons, but the common people of the new working class and their “Romantic” ideals.

I, myself, did not hear a piece of Tchaikovsky until I was about 16 years old, but, as a little boy, I liked him tons. Almost all of the children in my little town learned music history after school where we had to memorize lots of facts about the composers. Two of the facts I learned about Tchaikovsky were that he was born in a very tiny village at the base of a remote mountain in 1840, and later went away to the city and become a very famous musician. I thought, “I’m going to be just like that Tchaikovsky guy, eh?”

I also learned that Tchaikovsky was always very sad, struggling within himself, had secrets no one could know, and sadly, in the end, killed himself. This, plus the fact that there was a “phantom-type rich lady” who sent him large amounts of money, but refused to ever meet him; if I had known even a modicum of the meaning of the word “Romantic”, I would have thought him to be very much so.

So what could Tchaikovsky do for us ….this man so full of anguish and compelling melodies? I could answer the question this way: when the horn solo at the beginning of the slow movement of Tchaikovsky 5th begins, you will feel yourself change inside. You will look over at the person that you brought to the concert and think about who they are and who they are to you; you will either smile or grasp their hand – or shed a tear.

You will! It is the eternal, soul –felt gift of the music of Tchaikovsky that will make this all happen; that miracle, that thing inexplicable.

In addition to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, the concert will feature Doug Lofstrom’s world premiere “Concertino for Harp and Orchestra” performed by harpist, Kelsey Erdahl and Haydn, Symphony no. 88.

New Philharmonic Concerts on Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6 at 8PM