Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Last Thursday the Phoenix Symphony played the overture to The Bartered Bride by Bedrich Smetena and two pieces by Anton Dvorak, the Cello Concerto (in b) and his 9th Symphony (in e).

I remember the first time I heard his 9th - yes, this was a long time ago, NPR station in Tucson - what went through my mind was "this is good but if afterwards they say what it was and it was Beethoven I'll be disappointed" (yes, long enough ago that could've mistaken somebody that far off for Beethoven, long enough ago that there were Beethoven symphonies that I didn't know.)

Hearing it again, directly after hearing his Cello Concerto (well, after the intermission after the concerto) made me realize that I've greatly overrated this symphony.

The Cello Concerto is odd; it has a lot of beautiful passages for the cello but I find the orchestra uninteresting; I see no logic, no movement, no cohesion.

The 9th symphony is better - it has better high points (like the opening of the finale) for one - but it still doesn't sound like these cool parts fit together in that way.

I don't know. I need to listen to it a few more times - I need to hear again how Mengelberg handled the piece before I'm really going to be happy with my assessment.

That's the fun part, isn't it: I decide I've overrated a piece/composer and that means I need to listen more.


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