Vienna Philharmonic

Another report of my unusually exciting weekend. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra was excellent, as expected. I went to the concert with 3 church friends (two of them were the couple I mentioned in a previous post). Standing ovations and two encores, what can I say.
The programme confirmed some initial suspicions based on years of classical music training and ‘appreciation’ classes. I’m still so-so with Schubert but at least I was vaguely familiar with his Unfinished Symphony [here’s a funny joke about it]. I still find Mozart a little flighty though those three movements were more tolerable than most other concerts I’d attended. And I still like Rimsky-Korsakov.
Looking at the Orchestra’s schedule for Singapore, it seems that they changed their plans to play my most favourite piece, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major. Shucks.
Our stall seats were pretty good, if you’re the sort who likes getting up close and personal. There was also enough space to fit a couple of deck chairs at the end – seriously. I could literally see the beads of sweat on maestro conductor Marcello Viotti’s forehead. I could see the notes on the music scores. I could tell that a handful of musicians’ faces were turning red under the light (or Singapore weather?). One bassist had white locks, reminding me of Santa Claus. The harp was huge, golden and ornate – almost divine. Never knew harps had pedals.
We spent our intermission time exploring the passageways in the concert hall. We could hear the Orchestra rehearsing in another chamber, through two ‘vents’ along the wall, at the frontmost part of the hall. Not that we could understand what they were joking about.
During the final rounds of applause, Viotti signalled for his star musicians to rise. One of my friends noticed that both flutists stood up. The conductor signalled for the second flutist to sit back down. Instead, the musician left in a huff. Fascinating. Anyway we had two encore performances; as expected they were trademark Strauss waltzes, loud and swift. An excellent evening.


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