Tonight we went to the Yale Philharmonia's performance of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring at the incomparable Woolsey Hall. It was quite possibly the best live performance I have ever been to, not just for the skill of the instrumentalists, but also the magnitude of the piece. (And it didn't hurt that we've been living and breathing the Rite over the past few weeks. I think the preparation and anticipation made the performance that much better.) All I could think afterwards was, "Now THAT's how you use an orchestra!"
Is it perhaps my new favorite piece? Maybe. Would I go see it again any chance I get? Definitely!
It was such a real joy to go to the concert with the kids, too. After all the fantastic work they did getting excited about the Rite with our lessons and activities, the night out was a real treat. They all seemed to have loved it, and we were all quite literally on the edges of our seats! We were all tracking the ballet in our minds, cringing, for instance, when the Chosen One fell outside the circle for the second time or began her dance to the death!
The orchestra was great, and now when I listen to my recording of The Rite of Spring, I am sure to hear more nuances than before. We all loved the woman who played the principal timpani, she had such poise and energy. (There was quite a percussion section, including 10 timpani, a bass drum, a gong, cymbals, and a number of small instruments.) And the bassoon soloist nailed the beginning of the piece!
Fortunately there was no riot like at the 1913 premier. But there was a well-deserved ten minute standing ovation!
Congratulations, Yale Philharmonia, on a job well-done!