Which is great, because one of those neighbors is
All three men were Londoners, and were contemporaries for a while.
The night started for us at
Lou explained to us the timing of that direction. The conductor is leading the symphony, which is a fraction of a second behind the conductor, because you have to react to what you're seeing. Lou is backstage with a monitor, watching the conductor on a delay that's a fraction of a second behind the symphony.
And since he knows the choir will be a fraction of a second behind him, he has to direct a fraction of a second ahead of what he's watching on the monitor.
Something I learned from the program: cockney sounds suspiciously close to cockaigne. As in, those dumb lower class schmucks are high all the time.
I thought it was fun. Libby, not being a fan of the flute – and being a fan of percussion, which was conspicuously absent – appeared pretty closed to violence. (Not really. But she wasn't happy with it.)
During intermission, a screen came down to prepare for some NASA visuals to accompany Holst's The Planets (here's
I'm a fan of the piece, which apparently Holst figured would never be performed, so he wrote it for an "impossibly large" orchestra. Then he got all sorts of famous and miserable. The one thing I'm not crazy about is that the Neptune movement, which ends the piece, is like walking into the middle of a Phish concert after walking out of the Rolling Stones – the music's lovely, but it's been straight ahead rock and ballads all night, and all of a sudden you're in the middle of a sea of constantly modulating experimentation.
OK, that was overkill, but pretty artful for a Sunday morning, no?
I'm split between Mars and Jupiter as my favorite planets. I love a dark, evil overture (Mars was John Williams' inspiration for the Imperial theme from Star Wars), but I also love a majestic piece that doesn't wreak of Hail-to-the-Chief-like pomp.
This multimedia performance has been done a lot across the country, and while I like the idea, well, as someone who does some imagery and knows what's possible, I wasn't a big fan of the rear-projection visuals.
An animation flying out from earth to each of the planets at the start of each movement was pretty cool. But from there, it went downhill. A close-up of the planet being performed rotated in the background (except Saturn and Neptune, which were still images), while various photos and illustrations of the planet, or a Mars rover, or stars or the Milky Way, or whatever, were laid over the backgrounds, with no manipulation done.
Envision, if you will, having an 8x10 photo on the floor, and then laying a 4x6 on top of it.
The music was amazing, but honestly, for a nearly 2.5-hour program, I would have preferred a 7:00 start time to an 8:00 start time. In all, I'll give the evening an 8, although I have to say bonus points were included for the company.