Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mods

Demonstrating what a classy dame I am, I decided to ride the scooter to the Saint Louis Symphony last night (although, I guess that was classier than the ride home from the grocery store with the 12 pack of toilet paper strapped to the front rack). Unlike when I arrive at work, I decided to leave the helmet stowed in the top case rather than bringing it inside--at work it makes me happy to gaze at it throughout the day, because I think it makes me look like Trixie on Speed Racer. Anyway, I wore black, hoping it would conceal any street grit thrown up from the ride up Grand (it didn't), and arrived just in time to meet my friend Tim to head up to the second floor of Powell Hall--where the Met Bar resides--and have a couple of Guinesses before the show.


I'm pretty convinced that Symphony concertgoers have varying tastes and are looking for different experiences when they spend the evening at Powell. As usual, the programming of the evening's performance was very good, offering a broad variety of pieces that undoubtedly left the every segment of the audience pleased in their own particular way. As I discussed in a previous post, I think the ability to put together a program of disparate pieces, combined with an artistic vision which makes the music flow cohesively, is the secret strength of the SLSO.

It is hard not to get blinded by the incredible musicianship, which was on display with featured soloist Gil Shaham, who impressed me with both his incredible violin technique and his sweetness of interpretation in his performance of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 63.

But honestly, it's always the modern compositions that capture my imagination. Growing up on an admittedly weird combination of punk rock and free jazz, it's dissonance, rhythmic inventiveness, energy and screwing around with compositional form that always grabs my attention. So I was not disappointed with John Adams Doctor Atomic Symphony. Doctor Atomic was originally conceived as an opera, which details the Manhattan Project--the American program to create the atomic bomb during World War II. Opera is probably my least favorite genre, so I was excited that Adams had adapted portions of the score as orchestral pieces. With it's ominous beginning, propulsive violin section, horn blasts and thunderous percussion, I walked away from the evening's performance quite pleased.

Speaking of the moderns, I have to mention Meredith Monk's concert which I had absolute privilege of catching a few weeks before at Powell. Monk is not only a composer and singer, but a filmmaker, choreographer and director. Some simple choreography came into play during her delightfully complex, yet somehow minimalist Panda Chant, which I thought stole the show. It also had the additional pleasure of having Meredith Monk joining the choir.

As for mods, I haven't put the Prima pipe on the scooter yet, but I did invest an awful lot in chrome--though the look hasn't quite reached Quadrophenia like proportions...yet. I'll likely ride the scooter on out to Euclid Records third annual Record Store Day event on Saturday, April 17th, which is always a great time and features a hell of a lot of free local music. We've got the best of the bunch this year--check out this line up.

The Nevermores - Noon
33 on the Needle - 1:00
Adoring Heirs - 2:00
Art Majors - 3:00
Finn's Motel - 4:00
Sleepy Kitty - 5:00
Troubadour Dali - 6:00
The Bottle Rockets - 7:00

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on Record Store Day, throughout the week, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to get the scoop on limited edition special releases associated only with this event.

While you're at it, follow the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra on Facebook and Twitter as well. Also, check out Eddie Silva's fabulous SLSO blog, where he will be posting links to other reviews from their highly successful Bloggers Night 4.

Postscript: check out the Bacon Infused Bloody Mary that Tim was drinking at the new Midtown joint Kota after the show. He's a brave man.