A Date with the Symphony

I went to the symphony for the first time last Thursday night. Or if not the first time, then the first time that I can remember. Although I used to listen to Rachmaninoff while doing my homework in high school (sometimes I switched it up with our Captain & Tennille 8 track tape), I've never been a huge classical music fan. I like music I can sing to. And, as my mom always said, it's scary – all quiet & lulls you into a drowse & then suddenly "boom!" there go the horns or the drums. It's a lot of work to listen to a classical piece of music, in my opinion.

I went with some ladies from church – they needed a chauffeur & had a free ticket for me. It was the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, with a guest violinist, Vadim Gluzman. Here's a list of what they played:

BEETHOVEN Fidelio Overture
Violin Concerto (with Mr. Gluzman – a total teddy bear cutie, if you want my honest opinion)
La mer
Leonore Overture #3

And here are my thoughts on the experience:
  • We sang the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning! I thought that was great fun – although had I known in advance I might have limbered my voice up a little more.
  • I loved the first piece, the Beethoven. That's what I think a symphony should sound like! Although I couldn't get Dudley Moore as the conductor in Foul Play out of my head. So I was probably smiling inappropriately. Or maybe people thought I was really a fan.
  • The Sibelius with the guest "fiddler" reminded me of a series of an interminable number of some arpeggios. Up and down the scale, all random, with "interesting" syncopation. Really, he was playing the heck out of that violin & he was a joy to watch – so into the music & looking like he might burst with it before he finished. But. I couldn't really find the tune, you know? And apparently that matters to me. So I mostly just watched him & the rest of the orchestra, which was actually quite fascinating.
  • The Debussy, I was astounded to find, reminded me of the warm-up the orchestra did between each number (I had no idea that instruments needed to be tuned every 20 minutes). At the end there was some very satisfactory percussion & double bass playing (I want to play an instrument bigger than me!), but most of the time I was people watching rather than enjoying the music. I was astounded because for some reason I assumed I would like Debussy.
  • And then we were back to Beethoven & I was so excited because I thought I would like it. Not so much. However, there was a small section that reminded me of the song from Oklahoma that Will and Ado Annie sing – "With me, it's all or nuthin!" So I left the symphony with that running through my head, which was great fun.
So, did I have a good time? Absolutely. Would I go again? You betcha! Just people watching was fabulous – especially the brass section (they didn't have too much to do with this performance, other than a few blasts to wake up the crowd, or is that not what the composer intended?). I loved watching the faces & body language of the musicians. And I got to sing the Star Spangled Banner and that's not something you get to do every day. So, score!


  1. Hubby and I have often said we should go... now I want to, if for no other reason, as you said, to people watch!!

  2. The first time I went to the Symphony I swear I could feel the music in that primal core of my body. I'm glad you had fun and that you'd go back, it is so much fun to people watch..I'm an ardent follower of humanity, they're my species after all.

  3. So, did you hit the high note in the Star Spangled Banner? :)

    I love the symphony... it always makes me tired. Probably because I play it at night when I go to bed so my body is used to thinking, OK, music - must sleep...

  4. My husband and I used to have season tickets to the symphony. He is a huge fan of classical music and has enough of a collection to have his own radio station and could easily tell side stories about all the composers, etc. I on the other hand, enjoy it but don't have the mind or whatever it takes to call myself a fan. Our tastes are different in music. He was standing over me as I was reading your post this morning and went down to his collection and brought up the pieces you mentioned here and told me the grand daughters may like to listen to it today. They will probably choose Dora the Explorer though.

  5. Back when I was in school, before my public school days, the private school had a filed trip to the symphony every year. I always signed up to go and I did enjoy, but I invariably fell asleep during the performance.

  6. I'm glad you had fun! I'm biased for the symphoney as I spent most of my youth playing in various orchestras. I played the double bass and yes, its awesome to play an interment that is biger than you.

    You sang the Star Spangled Banner at the begining? How very interesting...

  7. While I love all kinds of music (I don't call RAP music), you will hear classical music softly playing in my house on most evenings. Great for talking, reading, knitting, or just listening.

  8. A pox on Debussy! Never understood what that was about. :P

    It's sooo good to get out and do new things, eh? I'm so glad that my work makes me do that now, I can't believe I sat home as much as I used to!

  9. BTW, best ever in the whole wide world of music, IMNSHO? Mozart's Requiem Mass. I heard it live one Mother's Day. Best. Present. Ever.

  10. Totally laughed out loud at your comment: "It's a lot of work to listen to a classical piece of music".


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