The concert was wonderful.
The three pieces performed were all by composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Ellen was in the audience, and gave a short explanation of her inspiration for each piece before they were performed.
The first was Images for Two Pianos and Orchestra.
The pianist were Read Gainsford and Heidi Louise Williams, both on the faculty at FSU. The interplay between the two pianos, and between the pianos and the orchestra was fascinating.
For those who want to know, Read was playing a Blüthner, Heidi played a Steinway.
The conductor was Alexander Jiménez.
We had the pleasure of meeting Alexander at the reception after the concert, a gentleman, very pleasant and easy going (and talented).
After a brief pause (while they wheeled the Blüthner off and spun the Steinway around) it was time for Millenium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra.
Ellen explaned this was based on a folk song her Grandmother used to sing to her.
The first movement was called Quarter note = 60, the second was Quarter note = 180. Lovely melodic pieces.
Kathy and I agreed the Millenium was our favorite.
While Jeffrey's performance was amazing as always, you couldn't help getting caught up in the orchestra's peformance.
I realize as college students they are no longer really "kids", nor are they seasoned adults. However, if you closed your eyes and just listened you would have sworn you were enjoying one of the major city orchestras.
Speaking of the Millenium, a little history...
In 1999 Jeffrey Biegel assembled the largest consortium of orchestras (over 25), to celebrate the millennium with a new concerto composed for him by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
The Millennium Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra
was premiered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2000, and will be recorded for Naxos in 2009 with the Florida State University Orchestra
(as in this weekend, and in fact, they were recording during Friday nights performance, in case they captured something usable).
The last piece was Peanuts ® Gallery.
Ellen explaned that she once showed up in a Peanuts cartoon.
Later she contacted Charles Schultz about composing new music around the Peanuts gang theme. Peanuts ®
Gallery for piano ad orchestra (1996) was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Orpheus.
The audience had great fun listening to:
1. Schroeder's Beethoven Fantasy
2. Lullaby for Linus
3. Snoopy Does the Samba
4. Charlie Brown's Lament
5. Lucy Freaks Out
6. Peppermint Patty and Marcie Lead the Parade
I'm not sure who was having more fun with these, the orchestra, the conductor, Jeffrey, or the audience. I'd have to say it was all of us.
Overall a most enjoyable evening.
We will be watching for the CD of all the above being recorded this weekend.
I am going to Colorado Springs, CO April 18-19
to see/hear Jeffrey perform Keith Emerson's Piano Concerto, and Keith is going to be there!!!
For those of you who may not know, Keith Emerson was/is my piano/keyboard hero. He is the reason I kept playing.