Sunday, January 24, 2010

San Antonio Symphony Presents John Williams

Since I've graduated college, I have changed my involvement in the arts to one of being a patron, since that is something those particular industries need. I made another resolution for 2010 to remedy this: to do one artsy-fartsy thing each month.  For January, it happily coincided with my decision to take Mom to a San Antonio Symphony Pops presentation of John Williams music for her birthday.

I was reminded of how much I enjoy the symphony.

The concert was preceded by dinner at Rosario's, which was the first time Mom has been there.  It's in the King William district and on the main route for the First Friday art exhibits. I had the Pollo con Mole though I opted for the sauce on the side.  It comes "smothered" by default, but the smaller amount was very enjoyable. 

The venue was different than the previous concerts I attended, this time at the Municipal Auditorium. It was a beautiful facility in an art deco style and one of San Antonio's historic sites.  It appeared to seat more people than the Majestic Theater where I've been before.  Most of the floor seats were occupied.  There were a lot of school age kids there, which is a definite difference from the what I perceived to be the normal crowd.  Added bonus: more knee room than the cheap seats at the Majestic.

The concert was very good.  I knew almost every one of the tunes, which made the concert fly by.  I think my boyfriend was embarrased by Mom and me bobbing our heads in time with the music.  They played a lot of the memorable themes from Star Wars, Jaws, E.T., Superman and Harry Potter.  Everybody knows those, right? They also played the theme from NBC news, which was much more beautiful in its full form than the sound bytes that you normally get.

Two songs from my high school band career stand out in my mind as incredibly fun to play.  They were both John Williams tunes and they both made the program: Cowboys and 1941.  Both of these were written before Star Wars and his catapult into legend.  I remembered how much it physically hurt to play those tunes during rehearsal and I felt bad for the horns and trumpets who had to play a whole two hours of similarly ranged music. 

There were two solo pieces.  The first on the program was "Viktor's Theme" from The Terminal which featured a clarinet solo.  It was an amazing piece.  The principal clarinet did a fantastic job with it.  It makes me want to watch the film again so I can listen for the theme applied in context.  The second was the theme from Schindler's List.  The piece is both moving and haunting, but I did not love the concertmaster's performance. There's something about fast vibrato that irritates me whenever I hear it and I especially don't think it worked for this piece.

This was my first Pops concert, so I wasn't expecting their "special effects."  They had characters in costume acting onstage intermittently throughout the concert.  It seemed really hokey and detracted from the experience.  But they weren't for me.  They were for the little kid sitting next to us who pretended to be the conductor and then totally geeked out when Darth Vader took over the podium for the Imperial March from Star Wars.  And for him, it rocked. 

Again, I was inspired by a symphony concert.  Listening to classical music always fills me with all the best hopes for myself and my future, with my shooting star dreams.  And best of all, it gives me a whiff of courage to continue towards those things, no matter where I've made it on my journey thus far. 

I highly encourage anyone to attend an arts event in their city if they haven't in a while.  Our cities are filled with creative and talented people who need an audience.  I know I'm going to go back for more as soon as I can.


Amanda said...

Because I grew up with classical music, it's hard for me to feel anything towards it other than it's just a background thing. My dad was always practicing or had music on so it's just part of reality for me. I'm indifferent to it. On the other hand, i really love choral pieces. I'm not so big into musicals and I only like comedic operas, but choral pieces - especially requiems - are gorgeous.

I would love to go down to the Majestic sometime. I haven't been in years and Jason's never been before. Unfortunately, I'm really scared to drive downtown. My dad's thinking he's going to buy us season passes next year and we'll drop our kids off at his house and travel down to the symphony with my stepmom, who plays 2nd or 3rd chair trumpet. I think my dad went back to playing 4th chair alternate because having two jobs was just too much, so he doesn't play in every concert.

Oh! Back in September 2008 my dad was on the commercials for the symphony & I wrote up this post about it:

That was the year he went back to playing full time as 3rd chair because the guy who was 1st chair took a year sabatical, I think. When he came back, my dad dropped back into 4th/alternate instead of reauditioning to keep a permanant chair.

Amanda said...

Sorry for the uberlong comment...

Ann said...

Different things speak to different people. Music is one art that speaks to me. I usually have music on in the background, but there's a lot of different types that I like.

My sister recommended music by Hildegard von Bingen, who she did research on. She was a 19th century composer, one of the only women at that time. Most of her pieces are choral, and I listen to them a lot when I'm writing. Sequentia is a group that performs her music now and you can get it off iTunes.

Lately I've really been digging latin and classical guitar, as well as solo piano pieces.

Other things that speak to me are modern art, sculpture, and gardens.

Amanda said...

Music speaks to me, too, just not normally classical music because it was so much a part of my life growing up that it became background. I love music. My most recent interest has been in middle eastern music. My sister has made a bunch of mix cds for us and my kids love it.

I like older art better than modern art, but it's writing that really gets to me (hence all the reading, I guess).