Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Classical pop.

Keith Lockhart opened the 2008-2009 Utah Symphony season (and Lockhart’s last season as music director) with what can only be described as classical pop—some of the biggest hits in the history of music. And why not? The house was full, the orchestra was energized, and the crowd thrilled to the all-Beethoven program.

Garrick Ohlsson (who’s become something of a Utah Symphony regular) opened the show as soloist in Beethoven’s Concerto No 4 for Piano in G major. The dizzying demands of the concerto were delivered effortlessly. This is music that moves and astounds. And that was just the first half.

The second half featured Symphony No. 9 in D minor, also called the Choral Symphony and commonly referred to as Ode to Joy thanks to the concerto’s big finale complete with soloists and chorus. This symphony is one great moment after another. The music is so good that even a bad performance is rewarding. But there was no bad performance here. The Utah Symphony delivered a big, confident performance. And by the time the choral finale rolled around, I expected to see banner-waving crowds and cheering in the streets afterward.

I think I’ll spend more time at the Symphony this season.

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