In recent days I’ve seen oboist Phil Ross, percussionist Will James, violinists Wendy Plank Rosen, Kristin Ahlstrom and Jessica Cheng, double bassist Chris Carson, English horn player Cally Banham, and I’ve engaged in email conversations with violists Beth Guterman Chu and Jonathan Chu, clarinet player Scott Andrews, horn player Thomas Jöstlein, violinist Erin Schreiber, and concertmaster David Halen. This means the summer festivals are over and the musicians are beginning to return home to St. Louis–a delightful harbinger of the new season. When they all get together next week for rehearsals they’ll look something like this:
After reading the promotional material for Nike’s new Kobe Bryant “Beethoven” shoe (see Thursday’s post), and especially trying to parse a sentence such as, “The grey color of this colorway represents Beethoven’s timeless quality,” I was reminded of a basic copy-writing rule: keep it simple.
For example, I asked oboist Phil Ross about his hot picks for the upcoming season. He needed to look no further than the program for Opening Weekend: David Robertson conducting Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 with Yefim Bronfman, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with Erin Schreiber, and Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable.” Ross wrote: “Well, the first concert looks pretty damn good. I’d pay good money to hear each piece, let alone all on one program!”
Single tickets go on sale Monday. Pay your good money for some pretty damn good concerts. You can’t go wrong. It’s simple.
It’s August, the month in which the reality of the new season calls for significant mental adjustments for many of us working at Powell Hall. The pace shifts. I begin to type faster. Next thing you know Shannon Wood will be starting off Brahms’ Piano No. 1 with that dramatic timpani part, the strings will shiver beneath, and Yefim Bronfman will muscle his way in on the solo piano. So it will begin.
Cellist Bjorn Ranheim took a moment during his summer days to send me his thoughts about opening weekend:
“Robertson/Bronfman is always a formidable pair and this program is going to be a barn burner! Anytime one can hear Yefim Bronfman perform Brahms is a treat. He has the power and musical insight to bring out all of the nuances from this great piano concerto. Plus, Erin Schreiber plays The Lark Ascending, one of the most hauntingly beautiful violin solo pieces around!”
Thanks for the late-summer inspiration, Bjorn. The theme at Powell for August: Get ready.