Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Bonzos Step Out on Friday Night (Bonzo Nights)

Normally on Friday night, Mr. Bonzo likes to collapse at home after a hard week in the trenches of BigU. In the old days he used to go to the BigTen for a few (at least) beers after work, but those days are gone forever...

Occasionally Mrs. Bonzo manages to raise Himself from his lethargy to do something. Last night Herself managed to snag front row tickets for a concert by the SPCO which is a wonderful small orchestra that plays in smaller GemCity. Pinky Zuckerman, Dennis Russell Davies, and Bobby McFerrin [sic] among other luminaries have conducted the SPCO. Perhaps surprisingly they have a huge fan base for their cds in Japan and do a lot of touring around the world. They have gone over to some weird system of artistic directors rather than conductors. One of these is Josh Bell and last night it was announced that Dawn Upshaw would be a director next year. The individual orchestra players are outstanding.

Mr. B. likes seats close to the orchestra, although (because?) they are usually considered bad seats and thus are less expensive, another feature of interest to impoverished academics. Last year Mrs. B. snagged some tickets to hear Hilary Hahn an outstanding young violinist and we were about ten feet away. This was one of the best concerts Mr. B. has ever heard. The program she performed is available on cd from Amazon. (Brahms and Stravinsky violin concertos)

So what was interesting last night was that this small orchestra played Mahler's "Das Lied von Der Erde." You know the lush, heavily orchestrated, piece ? And the arrangement was by none other than Schoenberg (yes the twelve tone guy). It was a very unusual but effective performance. The soprano and tenor were both outstanding. The first part of the concert was an early Schoenberg piece that was not twelve tone and although it was a little jarring it still sounded wonderful to Mr. B.

We know, we know, Mr. B. is not a music critic. What was the concert like from the standpoint of someone who knows something about music? Michael Anthony writes for the newspaper in the other GemCity, and is a pretty critical guy. He's written a review ("SPCO's not-so-big Mahler delicate, lovely")
in today's Strib.

Back to earth:
It is snowing. A blizzard is being predicted. It is cold again. Mr. B. has to go off to work. It is graduate student recruiting week-end. ChemistryGS wannabes are in town and we are supposed to make them want to come to BigU. I hope they like music...

ps: Fortunately, the student Mr. B. talked to was from St. Cloud, which is an hour's drive from BigU. She's used to the weather, thankfully.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous book, Mrs. Bonzo! Lisa and I enjoyed dinner with you and Mr. Bonzo at Lynda and Roger's. Hope to run into you again. Go get your book from that slimey bast**d and publish it yourself.

I also recommend getting the book "Non-Fiction Book Proposals Anyone Can Write" by I can't remember her name. It's a great help for writing a book proposal to get your book published by a legitimate publisher.

Ta ta!