Click on ticket or on any picture to enlarge.
For those of you who thought I had no culture, you are sadly mistaken. During my trip to Maryland in early December of 2008 I had the privilege of going to the world famous ‘John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ in Washington, D.C. The ‘National Symphony Orchestra’ performed on Friday the 5th of December and I had a ticket.
My parents, who are full of culture and class bought me a ticket to see Itzhak Perlman, the most prolific and influential violinist of our times. His love and desire to please the audience is noticable from the start. He had polio at age four and lost the use of his legs, it is painfully obvious watching him walk to the stage and climb the steps. He uses special walking sticks or canes to manipulate himself across the floor and awkwardly climb the steps on the stage.
As the orchestra tuned up so every instrument was in perfect concert pitch, I could not help but notice I was one of the youngest people there. I’m 55 years old, but the preponderance of people were much older than myself showing a generational difference. Jimi Hendrix probably was not even alive when these folks started vibing to the big three!
A symphony is way more organized and polite than a rock concert. During a symphony it is not acceptable or courteous to cheer, clap, leave your cell phone on, take pictures or make noise until the piece ends. Basically it is a well adorned, comfortable small concert hall designed acoustically to let the music ring true. Remember, they do not use Marshall 100 watt heads with 4 stacks of speakers. There is very little amplification due to the amount of instruments playing at one time. Making enough true sounds to fill the hall with plenty of sound, no hearing loss either.
Objectively speaking, the amount of practice time must be astronomical. Other than the obvious, which is to be invited to play in the National Symphony Orchestra by playing at the highest level possible, there is another facet of the event that really blew my mind. The fact that when the conductor raises his baton in the direction of 15 violins and they all start to play at exactly the same time is another testimonial of how much effort is put into a symphonic experience. But add the other instruments in and you got something cooking. You don’t have to like the music to appreciate the effort and genius.
The experience was a good one for me. It had a similar effect on me that listening to the classical music station on the radio at bedtime has. Relaxing, mellow and not distractive. Generally, at least at night the classical music is not distracting to me like uh, lets say Stevie Ray Vaughan and I can there fore fall asleep fast. During the concert I did not fall asleep, but I went into a daze until the intermission, then relapsed into my daze when the performance reconviened . This is not meant to be disrespectful but more the way I listen to this type of music. Did I miss anything? Absolutely not. I heard every note played and was able to focus in on the instrumental changes and different mixtures of instruments blending together. A pretty amazing vibe to hear all of this precision occur at once. While I was not in a daze I did notice how much bravado the violins and other stringed instrument players use. Lots.
The only thing that concerned me is where is the guitar player? I have not really researched it, but why not have a guitar or two? Probably because the guitar player always steals the show! Is it in our genes, is it environmental or are we hard-wired for a particular music? There must be an answer. I had a lot of exposure to classical music as a kid. If you read my blogs than you know I played classical guitar for 4 years from a student of Andres Segovia. I even saw Segovia in person several times with my dad. You know my story, the first time I heard Jimi Hendrix in about 1966 was the last time I played my classical guitar. I still have it, it is a 1954 Gibson classical nylon string guitar.
Guitar Players Center was lucky to go to a symphony. I still say Hendrix is the greatest ever. The symphonic music is not my type of music, it is however the type of music millions of people love and listen to over and over. We are talking music composed several hundred years ago, which is a statement on it’s popularity and standing the test of time. I’m a blues man, the blues just hit the right notes with me. Who knows or cares why? I suggest you listen to what you enjoy. Please give me your 2 cents worth or even better, if you are a member of Stumble, than please Stumble and review this article.
The playbill guide is as follows. Just click the picture you want to enlarge.