Monday, May 11, 2009

A showy weekend

Andrew and I attend two shows this weekend.

1) ESO Friday Night Masters Concert

The turn out for this concert was excellent. Usually the Winspear is only half to three quarter full for the Friday shows, but this weekend it was nearly full. This may be due to the second half of the concert, which was devoted to Gustaf Holst's The Planets, which is fairly well known. Most people are probably familiar with the Mars and Jupiter movements, even if they don't know who wrote them, etc.

One of the things I loved about this performance was the humongous orchestra. It included: 1 tuba, 1 tenor tuba, 3 trombones, 3 trumpets, 5 french horns (yes 5), 2 bassoons, I think there was a bass clarinet, a bunch of flutes, 5 percussionists, 2 harps, an organ and another console (I'm not sure what instrument) and the regular ESO compliment of string instruments. Huge, big sound, especially during Mars. And when the organ joined in--oh man. It could knock someone's socks off, literally. Or at the very least give someone heart palpitations. And I love the romantic bit in Jupiter, where the music swells. I feel like I should be running through a grassy field toward my long desired love.

The first half was less exciting, but it's hard to be compared to The Planets. The first piece was a Canadian composition, unfortunately I've forgotten the composer's name, but it was titled The Wings Beneath the Earth. It was based on a Chilean poem, I believe. It was all right. The music was nothing too unusual and reminded me a little of generic movie soundtrack-type music. Andrew thought it lacked a distinct theme. The other first half piece was Haydn's Mercury Symphony (Symphony 43). Again, very nice, lots of crisp playing from the strings.

One last note. This is just a pet peeve of mine, but, if you're going to go to the orchestra take off your ball cap and leave your blue jeans and sneakers at home. The musicians are in black tie, the least you can do is put on a pair of slacks.

2) Stars on Ice

If you couldn't guess from the previous post Andrew and I attended the Stars on Ice performance at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Saturday night. I may have mentioned, I love figure skating. So, it might not surprise you, dear reader, that we had ice level seats. I love it there. You can see the skaters' facial expressions, hear them talking to one another and sometimes you get to interact with them. You can also see how fast they're skating. The whole show is a great deal of fun, sort of a rock n' roll show on ice. Or maybe it's better described as a musical on ice, I'm not sure.

The cast was mostly Canadian, this year, just two skaters who were not. I was pleased to discover that Stephane Lambiel was a special guest, which wasn't advertised on the Stars on Ice website. He's my new figure skater crush. Not only is he incredibly cute, but he's a talented skater. His spins were amazingly fast with great positions and he has intricate footwork with deep edges. A number of ladies in the audience seemed appreciated his skating as well.

I've already covered my love for Kurt Browning, but I'll said it again briefly: he's awesome. I loved his skating as a kid and I still do now. Ack! Who else to talk about? I could go through each skater individually and describe their numbers, but that wouldn't be terrible interesting and I don't think I have the patience to go through them all. Let's just say everyone was pretty great. In particular I enjoyed numbers by Joannie Rochette, Jeffrey Buttle, and Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon (some of my favourite skaters). I probably spent most of the show grinning stupidly and bouncing to the music selections. We've already put in our request for ice level seats again next year. Thank heavens Andrew is willing to indulge me in this silly passion of mine.

I think I will end this post here. I could spend paragraphs discussing both events, but my purpose for blogging is not to write in-depth reviews, just to record the occasional events in my life.



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