“Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes.” ~Claude Debussy
We went to see the Copenhagen Philharmonic perform tonight! The conservatory gives a few free tickets away to students, and I was really lucky and got two! So I went with my friend Kevin, and it was such a fun night (except for the part where we forgot to press the STOP button on the bus and totally missed our stop and had to super power-walk all the way back to the metro station in the cold and slush. Also the fact that we couldn’t find the entrance to the concert hall and walked around pretty much the entire building before realizing that all we had to do was turn the corner). But the hall is beautiful, and it looks like a blend of both old and new. The seats are on the older side- they’re all creaky and leather. The hall itself, though, looks very new, and the stage seems to be modeled after the one in the Chicago Symphony Hall). They played:
1. Mozart – Blæseroktet in C minor
A wind octet played a Mozart piece before it all, and, well, it lasted quite a long time. They were very good and incredibly in-tune, which is impossible to do, so it was impressive, but I will admit it. I fell asleep. It felt like the piece lasted 1234980809 hours. After the piece ended, each of the players got a single rose (they gave flowers to all the major performers. Even the conductor! I think we should do this at my music school at home. But instead of giving flowers to the conductor, we should give massive bouquets of flowers to the orchestra librarians* and the orchestra manager and the set-up crew). The first clarinetist was a younger guy and moved a lot when playing (a lot of gesturing and cues, wow) threw his flower all dramatically into the audience, and it was a bit awkward. I mean, it’s not like you’re One Direction or something. There aren’t screaming girl fans in the audience. What are you doing – just keep your rose. All the other guys on stage looked kind of uncomfortable and held their roses tighter and then looked questioningly into the audience. Thank goodness the pianist came out soon after, and that ended.
2. Lizt – Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra
If you haven’t heard this concerto, you have to go listen to it right now. The pianist Nareh Arghamanyan was so classy and fierce. She strolled onstage in this gorgeous dark red dress with velvet lace and tulle and the highest black heels, bowed gracefully, sat down, and then proceeded to play Lizt piano concerto with all the ferocity and passion and anger and elegance in the world. She was incredible! At one point, I thought she was going to break the bass strings of the piano, but then, she could switch in a moment’s notice and play as if her fingers were fairies on the keys. I couldn’t believe it. And then the principle cellist played a duet with her halfway through the concerto, and tears, so many tears.
I have no idea how she made it back and forth across the stage 3 more times in those heels, but she did, and then she played an encore. It must have been variations on a national theme? Because when she started playing, everyone in the audience started chuckling and clapping. We joined in, but we had no idea what it was…
3. Schumann – Symphony No. 2
And then it was time for the Schumann Symphony, and the orchestra took the first and second movements so fast, oh my. The second movement just kept accelerating, and I don’t think it could have gone any faster by the time it ended. The conductor turned around after that movement and said to the audience that he “didn’t mind if we clapped between movements.” Then he gestured to the first violin section and said that the second movement was “one of the most notorious orchestra audition excerpts, and that all of the violinists in the orchestra had made it.” I mean, clearly. Everybody started clapping hard-core after that, and he probably regretted his decision because we couldn’t start the third and fourth movements for a long time afterwards. I did appreciate that he said that, though. I think that it made the concert more personal, and it told the people in the audience that they are an important part of the concert. All the musicians were RIDICULOUS, and most of the women in the violin section wore sleeveless shirts (the dress code seemed to be more casual than in American orchestras – the guys also didn’t wear tuxes*), probably so we can all see their beautifully toned arms play at an impossible tempo. I pretty much quit violin after that.
I did love the concert though, and it was interesting to see who came and how busy it was. Mostly, there were older couples, but there were a few younger groups of people, and our section had some students. I think they have more concerts coming up, and so we’re planning on definitely going back! It was a good night, and we ended it with late-night fries from McDonald’s (which getting our fries took about as long as the duration of the Mozart Octet. Who knew that everyone and their best friend and their best friend’s brother go to McDonald’s on Saturday nights?).
*Also, one of the violinists in the second violin section looked just like this, no joke.
– It’s not a very good picture, I know, but I was having difficulties with the lighting –