Saturday night, November 9, 2013 – in the middle of the opening weekend of the Cincinnati Symphony with its new Music Director, Louis Langree! Music Hall was packed to the rafters, excitement was everywhere, the audience was ready.
We were in the gallery center, my favorite place to be to absorb all the sound there is in the building. The orchestra, all by itself, opened with a fanfare for its new director, who then fairly bounded onto the stage, vibrant and energetic.
The first piece, a commission named On A Wire, created and preformed by eighth blackbird, was totally modern, and partially involved opening the piano top, manipulating, plucking and bowing the strings- plus wonderful instrumentation by the ensemble members.
Then Dr. Maya Angelou as wheeled on the stage, and helped onto her stool, to narrate Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. Dr. James Westwater, photochoreographer (who knew?), had created a powerful continuing triptych of civil war photos to accompany the work. Heartstoppingly beautiful, especially with Maya Angelou’s calming and emphatic voice.
Intermission, with a seemly dash to Divine’s Chocolates on the balcony. I must have my chocolate truffle – very hard to attend a performance at Music Hall without it!
And back for a powerful, inspiring rendition of Beethoven’s Fifth – without a score – led by Maestro Langree – who crouched, sprang, reached for the sky, loved the orchestra. He is so very different than our wonderful Paavo Jarvi, who was sleek, modern, sophisticated.
Louie presents as warm, energetic, comfy, and ardent. Can’t wait to see how all this plays out – but the view sure look good from here!
p.s. The new progrm, the magazine-ish Fanfare, published monthly, is all more intimate, inviting – and much less (intimidating, perhaps) (maybe stuffy?) than prior programs. And helpful – even has a glossary of musical language.