Saturday, January 22, 2011

Maria and the Symphony: reunited at last!

One of my very favorite things to do while I lived in Washington, D.C. was to go to the Kennedy Center to listen to the National Symphony Orchestra play. I loved hearing classical music masterpieces played live; I found it so inspiring, relaxing, thought-provoking, and often times, breathtakingly beautiful. I loved having my world expanded by hearing new music, and the ability that the music had to uplift my spirit and strengthen my soul. Music really does have that capability, to draw us out of the everyday, and to allow us to contemplate Truth and Beauty.

While I was in D.C. I was blessed to be able to take part in the "Attend Discount" ticket option, where students could get excellent tickets for as low as $10. I was able to see dozens of shows through this program, and I was so grateful for it.

Although I do love country music, since I have lived in Nashville I have really missed the opportunity to hear the symphony. From what I could tell on their website, the cheapest tickets are $40, something which I just couldn't afford right now.

However, I was thrilled to find out from a friend that the Nashville Symphony often has "rush tickets" available, which are $15, and available if you show up at the box office an hour before the show. My friend really wanted to see the performance of Sibelius' Finlandia, and when she suggested that we try to get rush tickets, I was totally game!

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center
flickr/ photo by sduck409

So, we showed up at the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall an hour before the show, and were able to successfully land our $15 tickets! How exciting!

I was thrilled to be back in a Symphony Hall again. This was my first time to Nashville's Schermerhorn, and it is absolutely beautiful! Amazingly, it was severely damaged by the flood in the spring, but after months and months of restoration, it just reopened for performances for New Years. You would never know it went through a natural catastrophe; it's just lovely!

It's designed in an art deco style, but has very clean lines and a much more modern, minimalist flair than your typical art deco architecture. The most memorable aspects of the design are the chandeliers, made of clusters of round deco balls. Grey marble throughout the Schermerhorn adds to the exquisiteness of the hall.

Hallway in the Schermerhorn
flickr/ photo by sduck409

The music itself was lovely. The program included:
Sibelius - Finlandia, Op. 26
Sibelius - Lemmink√§inen’s Return, from Four Legends from the Kalevala, Op. 22
Sibelius - Concerto for Violin in D minor, Op. 47
Nielsen - Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 "The Inextinguishable"
I was not very familiar with the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius previously. I found that I did recognize parts in Finlandia, particularly the middle section, from which the hymn "Be still my soul" is based. It was just beautiful! I think that was my favorite part of the program.
However, I also really enjoyed the Violin Concerto, which featured an incredible performance by Stefan Jackiw. The score was very dramatic was said to highlight Sibelius' dashed dreams of becoming a violin virtuoso.
View from the stage
flickr/ photo by sduck409

Nielson is also a composer that I was not familiar with, but I really enjoyed his Fourth Symphony. It was a very fluid composition, and I especially loved the rigorous violin ensembles which resounded throughout the symphony and the emotion that it conveyed.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to the Schermerhorn, and am eagerly looking forward to other shows which I can find rush tickets for!
Editor's note: Unfortunately I cannot take credit for these photos...I cheated and got them off flickr. They show you how beautiful the hall is though!

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