This was a concert you would have loved! It was a progressive musical feast:
Hors d’ouvres – Concertino Strings from YOSA, the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio, expertly directed by our friend Eugene Dowdy. These young musicians (some so young that their parents are, no doubt, buying new concert clothes every six months) demonstrated their considerable talent and musical understanding. Janacek and Purcell must be smiling – I certainly was! I was thinking about the hours of practice that went into their performance; all the more remarkable when considering the electronic temptations that must pull at them.
First course – the YOSA Alumni String Quartet. This youthful foursome performed with confidence and mastery of the chamber music genre. Their abilities place them on the road to classical stardom. They are young, but very classy and professional. Again, evident hours devoted to their craft.
The Temple filled with the glorious sounds of the music as I’m sure it was meant to be heard. It left everyone with the feeling that they were hearing this music for the very first time.
Main course – the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble. Here, having exhausted my meager supply of adjectives, I defer to those around me in the audience: gentleman behind me trying to find a way to wrap the word “impeccable” around what he’d heard after the Rossini; lady next to me who could only say “Wow!”; a lady in the row ahead, who I know to be a professional musician, not saying a word – just smiling, enraptured. The Temple filled with the glorious sounds of the music as I’m sure it was meant to be heard. It left everyone with the feeling that they were hearing this music for the very first time.
RJ, you would have loved this afternoon’s concert! Even though we had a huge audience, in the pauses between movements, you wouldn’t have heard a sound – no one talking, no dropped programs, no coughing, not even a hearing aid pinging!
And at the lovely dinner afterwards, the Academy violist, Robert Smissen, spoke of something near to your heart. He said that the eight musicians who had provided such a splendid concert had been listening to the young musicians who had preceded them on stage and like me, marveling at their skills. Then he talked about how important it is to teach the young the “language of serious music,” how, like any other language one learns, the young are quick to pick up the accents, the phrasing, the metaphors of music. That is a truth I know you understood very well.
I’ve gone on, rhapsodizing, long enough, my friend. I can’t help but think you were there, too, smiling.
– E Doyle