Beethoven 9 always sounds good. At least it makes everyone feel good, the way good music should.
The Columbus Symphony concert went well tonight. It's one of the hardest pieces for an orchestra to play well. It challenges endurance, balance, ensemble, dynamics, you name it. We had our moments, up and down.
I had a real doozer, when I decided to try a new Forestone reed. (What was I thinking!? I've been playing Legeres all week and they sound great.) Soon after I put the reed on, we had to play the ultra-delicate march which comes from afar in the last movement. (it reminds me of the beginning of Sorcerers Apprentice) I POPPED the note out, and was jolted at the sound of it. Apparently I jumped so much that it almost caused one of my colleagues to burst out laughing. Oh well, the gremlins and tribulations of live music. No more Forestone reeds without playing a rehearsal on them. Bad 1st clarinetist!
Most of the rest went well, though I have to say, this piece is certainly more enjoyable to listen to than to play. The intricacies of balance, ensemble and tuning in this symphony in particular, are almost insurmountable. Let's just say that even a good performance sounds quite "human".
Maestro Gunther Herbig conducted from memory, as he usually does with war horses like this. It always amazes me when he does it, though, at his age. He was so into his music making that he barely conducted at times, which in a hall with fabulous acoustics, would be fine, because then we could play chamber music. But in the Ohio Theater, it's a great challenge to hear intimately enough to play with little help from the podium.
Even more impressive was the CSO chorus (a volunteer group), which memorized the parts, and not easy parts at that, to the huge choral sections in the last movement. Bravo CSO chorus!
If you missed tonight, I hope you can make it tomorrow, or Sunday. Or, come again. It usually gets better and better...