Boats and Bartók

I promise I won’t use my Bitterblue cover as my post picture for the rest of all time, but for now, I just can’t help myself. I’ve been working on Bitterblue for almost four years, and haven’t really been able to express how it’s made me feel. Now that I finally have a cover to express things for me, I find I keep reaching for it. :o)

So, there’s this piece of music by the Hungarian composer Bartók called Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin. If you’re curious, you can listen to part of it here. I theorize that there’s a relatively high potential for disaster when an orchestra attempts to perform this piece, seeing as even when it’s played well, it sounds kind of shrieky and discordant. Imagine how it would sound played badly!

Yesterday, I listened to the Boston Youth Symphony play it magnificently. The whole concert was beautiful and I was SO IMPRESSED with these fine young musicians. It was kind of a delightful crowd, too, younger than the average symphony audience… I’ve never been in Boston’s Symphony Hall before, but I’ve been to other snooty symphonies, and I’m guessing that generally speaking, people in symphony audiences don’t scream and hoot out the names of performers who’ve merely come on stage between sets to organize their music. No doubt there are some highbrow symphony-goers who would frown on that kind of behavior. People like that need to get over themselves. I speak as someone whose family brought pots to my college graduation and banged them together when my name was called, even though the crowd had been instructed to save their applause until the end, which technically my family did, because banging pots together is a completely different activity from applauding.

Where was I?

The concert yesterday was fantastic; the memory of my graduation got me sidetracked. Although COINCIDENTALLY perhaps I should mention that my graduation also included a fantastic concert, because our commencement speaker was Yo-Yo Ma, who brought his cello.

OKAY SO now I’m going to pull some information straight out of the program to tell you about the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras: “Founded in 1958, the BYSO is an independent organization in residence at the Boston University College of Fine Arts. BYSO’s mission is to encourage musical excellence in a professional and supportive environment by providing the highest-quality orchestra training and performance opportunities to qualified musicians, grades K-12, while making its programs accessible to underserved communities through financial assistance and outreach. …BYSO has the largest operating budget of any youth orchestra in the United States today,” and it shows. (That last part is me, not the program.) Most exciting of all, in March, they’re going to perform one of my most favoritest pieces of music ever, Brahms’s Requiem. I love it so much that I’ve mentioned it several times on this blog before, like here. I hope I’ll be in town!

Here’s the link to learn more about the BYSO, including their performance schedule.

Another nice thing that was happening in my neighborhood this weekend was this regatta called the Head of the Charles, which involves crew teams from all across the land swooping in with their beautiful long graceful boats and rowing them up and down the Charles River. In case you don’t know, here in Massachusetts, the Charles River separates Boston from Cambridge. Today, I took the bus from Cambridge into Boston to get to Symphony Hall, and when we crossed the river, it was JAM PACKED with boats and people. Really very pretty. I love autumn in New England.

Have a good week, everyone!