It's unseasonably warm in Minnesota. The sky is clear. Dinner at Brit's Pub on Nicollet was delicious. Across the street, nestled in Peavy Plaza, is Orchestra Hall.
We're dressed nicely. It's Orchestra Hall after all. But some people, sharply dressed in black with white, are rushing ahead of us. I quietly kid my wife that they are the band. At the door to the lobby, we are welcomed. Inside, we are welcomed again.
Cubist. The front wall and ceiling of Orchestra Hall jut out in white cubes, as if one winter someone was trying to piece together the world's largest igloo or ice palace or something. In frustration, the ice blocks were thrown up in the air... and they froze there. Someone will be as quick as a snowstorm to say that there must be accoustical benefits to the cubes, like right-angles on a stealth aircraft deflecting radar signals. I would be equally quick to say that it depends where you sit.
I pick out a sweet spot, a spot that may have the best accoustics -- in the center, about a third of the way out from the orchestra.
Brian Newhouse steps out and introduces himself to the audience. He is a voice of Minnesota Public Radio and a fan of the Minnesota Orchestra. He is also tonight's host, explaining the backgrounds of the pieces and pointing out some details we will hear. He kids with the orchestra, calling them, "The band."
Osmo V�nsk�, the conductor, and the Minnesota Orchestra played each piece magnificently. The first piece, Buckaroo Holiday, was my favorite. There were stylistic similarities between it and the theme to The Magnificent Seven. I started to catalog features of the music as if it were a landscape. By the start of The Dryad, I was joining parts of what I was hearing with parts of what I've heard before to create a musical story. At intermission, with pen and paper supplied by my wife, I jotted down some notes, composing, in the absolute roughest sense of the word.
The Minnesota Orchestra Preview Concert was inspirational, full of samples that leave you wanting more.
- Eric Davis