Posts Tagged ‘symphonic music’

A TUNEFUL CSO SEASON

September 10, 2014

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As Maestro George Del Gobbo says, “There is nothing in the world like hearing a symphony orchestra live.” The first symphony  orchestra I heard live was the Pittsburg Symphony when it came to Columbus in the mid-1940s. I have been hooked on that wonderful  sound since. And, believe me, being live makes a huge difference.

The CSO  season, which starts Saturday, Sept. 13 at the River Center at 7:30, has something for everyone, including a concert that features the lush sounds of a symphony playing some country music  favorites. The opener Saturday is an all Tchaikovsky  concert. This is great powerful, passionate, romantic, beautiful symphonic music with  melodies that you’ll humming on your way back to your car. Do yourself a favor and join me Saturday and experience what Maestro Del Gobbo says is sound that “comes from the depths of the human soul.”

Oh, the T-shirt is something I won a few years ago when the orchestra held a pops concert that featured an audience quiz.  The orchestra played excerpts and the person who identified the most titles won some tickets and a T-shirt.  It was my lucky  day. I got all of them.  The concert had been scheduled for the band shell in Weracoba Park, but it was moved into the Jordan High auditorium because of rain. That old auditorium has excellent acoustics.

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Saving the Symphony

January 19, 2014

Before Saturday night’s wonderful performance of Wagner and Straus by the Columbus Symphony orchestra, I was speaking with Columbus cultural icon Clason Kyle. I told him how pleased I was to see the school busses arriving with a lot of middle and high school kids to attend the concert. When I told him that my first exposure to a live symphony orchestra was when the Pittsburg Symphony played the 9th Street USO in about 1947, he remembered that he was there that night also. One of the Three Arts League members bought tickets for students of the Columbus and Jordan High bands. We sat on the first two rows. I was blown away by the sound of that live orchestra. I have loved symphonic music ever since. Clason, a Columbus High student, wasn’t a member of the band. I guess he was there simply because he wanted to be.

“Remember when the train came by?” he asked me.

The 9th Street USO, torn down long ago, sat very close to the tracks than run down 9th Street.

After he mentioned it, I did remember.

“The conductor of the orchestra was quite amused by that.”

I even remembered the encore that the orchestra played, the rousing march “El Capitan.” No doubt the conductor knew the high school bands were there and agreed to play something especially for us. I heard that the Columbus High kids had requested that number because their director was called “Captain Lee.” Who knows, maybe that was true.

I had to reflect on all of that when I saw all those school kids lining up go into the Bill Heard Theater. I also reflected on how important is it for the symphony to invite school children so they can be exposed to the great sound of a full symphony orchestra. There is just nothing like hearing live symphonic music. Symphony audiences all over the country are getting smaller. Attracting young audiences is the only hope of reversing that trend.

And it was good thing the symphony played Wagner and Straus because those composers really knew how to get the most out of an orchestra. They also knew how to write not only beautiful, but also exciting music.

No doubt, thanks to the sponsors who paid for the kid’s tickets, more students will be invited to attend future concerts. To love that music, a person has to be exposed to it. It wouldn’t hurt for the orchestra to follow the example of the Pittsburg Symphony and play an encore targeted for them, something like “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” or the theme from “Star Wars.”

CSU Philharmonic Plays Final Concert of the Year

April 30, 2010

Dr. Fred Cohen, Conductor of the CSU Philharmonic, following October, 2009 concert

It’s your last chance this year to hear one  the finest college symphony orchestras in the world, the Columbus State University Philharmonic Orchestra. Who says it’s one of the finest?  I do.  How would I know?  Good question.  Last time I discussed it with retired CSU President Frank Brown, he agreed with me.  We couldn’t both be wrong.  Do we have ties with CSU and could that influence our opinion?  Well yes, we do have ties.  He was president for 20 years, and I got a degree there and facilitate a course about Abraham Lincoln for the Columbus Academy of Lifelong Learning ,which is a part of the CSU continuing education program.  Still, we have both listened to a lot of symphonic music over the course of our lives, and that’s a long time, so we do have some idea of when an orhestra is good. I could also point out that I was a professional musician, but that’s only because I got paid for playing, not because I was a great concert, big band, and jazz combo drummer. I was good enough to know I wasn’t anything to brag about. Still, I did get paid.

Anyway, you can judge for yourself tomorrow night, Saturday, May 1, 2010, at 7:30 at Legacy Hall, whether the CSU Philharmonic is one of the best.  After you attend, you can come back to this post, hit the comment button and let me know if you agree or disagree.   If you love symphonic music, don’t miss it.  They are playing Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, and 3 movements from Bach’s Orchestral Suite #3 and a piece called “Nightsongs” for trumpet and strings and piano. Not only will you enjoy it, you’ll be showing your support for the outstanding , School of Music.