A sad sight in St. Louis: the stage hands take down the “Go Cards” sign from Powell Hall.
In Monday’s blog post I said the Powell Hall stage was empty. I was mistaken. The Powell Hall stage was in use for cello auditions. The details of such auditions are kept in secret so as not to violate the integrity of the process. The St. Louis Symphony musicians who hear auditions are kept in a vault below the stage until such time as the applicants begin. The Symphony musicians are supplied with bagels, tortilla chips and water to give them sustenance through the long day of listening. Then it’s back into the vault until all the applicants have left the vicinity. It’s an ordeal, but worth it.
On Monday I also mentioned a concert performed about an hour from Powell, down I-55, as part of the Symphony in Your Neighborhood program. Before the show there was an open rehearsal, which was attended by local high school students. On stage: (left to right) Adam Maness, David DeRiso, Shannon Wood and Karin Bliznik get ready for an evening of music by Claude Bolling.
Eric Owens voice envelops the Powell Hall nightscape and horn player Julie Thayer offers her theories and appreciations of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in this week’s video blog.
The backstage floor, which you saw as a work-in-progress in a previous post, gets sealed Tuesday night. The staff will enjoy the fumes for days to come.
Meanwhile, the stagehand office is receiving much-needed attention. Interim stage manager Tina Beck told me that after a black layer of carpet was lifted, they found another red layer of carpet underneath. You see above new flooring that has been put in, new carpet, and other stagehand-office zones that will receive additional care, such as the stripped message board that currently looks like an early Robert Rauschenberg combine.
Ah, the glamorous life.
Last week I talked to double bassist Sarah Hogan Kaiser about the Carnegie concert, coming up this Friday night, March 20, in New York City. She talked about the famous Carnegie acoustic, without in any way denigrating the acoustic in Powell Hall. Powell has a great sound too. But one of the biggest differences, she told me, was the acoustic on stage. At Carnegie, she will hear instruments she has not heard before. During Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, for instance, Kaiser usually is seated behind the cellos, but on the Carnegie stage she will hear a lot more than the celli–the oboes, perhaps, or even the triangle. It makes for different choices in her own playing, different ideas about blending, or providing contrast or support. It makes for a different Tchaikovsky 4, because music is a living thing, changing, shape-shifting, taking different forms wherever it goes, whether in mid-town St. Louis or mid-town Manhattan.