Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Milwaukee Symphony, "Resplendent Symphonies"

Like probably every other classical music organization on Earth this year, the Milwaukee Symphony is conducting a "Mozart Festival," consisting of two programs, "Resplendent Symphonies" (symphonies 39, 40, and 41), and "Philosophy in Music," (Overture and 2nd Act Finale from "The Magic Flute", and the "Requiem") There was a rare mid-day performance of the symphonic program on Friday October 27th at 11:15AM. Georgie wasn't working that day, and the concert hall is three blocks from my work place, so I gut us both tickets and arranged to take a "long lunch" for the performance.

I met Georgie at the performing arts center a bit after 11, and we settled in to a very enjoyable concert. Music Director Andreas Delfs conducted with vigor and bounce--occasionally literally, as I distinctly saw both his feet leave the podium at the same time at least once. His enjoyment carried over to the orchestra, who were right on and flawless as far as we could tell. Delf had good mastery of the tempos, particularly in the 40th Symphony which, with its feeling of urgency in main themes, I have often heard done an unnecessary shade faster.

I was able to stay for 39 and 40 (which is a favorite of mine) but when the second intermission started I decided I had to get back to work, which peeved me a bit. Come on, MSO! Do you really need to have a 25 minute interval after 25 minutes of music? Seriously, they had Symphony 39, 25 minutes. An intermission, 20 minutes plus. Symphony 40, followed by a second intermission of equal length, and the program would have closed with #41 at 29 minutes, which ends up with a program 130 minutes long, of which 80 minutes was music. I thought back fondly to Vienna where, even for grand opera, fifteen minute intermissions are strictly enforced, and this in a venue where they not only serve drinks (as our PAC does now, also) but food at the intervals. (The Statsoper had some very attractive small open-faced sandwiches on display, including smoked salmon and caviar--). I really don't see why two long intermissions would be called for in a program of this length. Common wisdom in theatre communities is that the average audience can sit for 90 minutes without a break, so it wouldn't strictly speaking have required an intermission at all. I know every arts organization and venue is perennially strapped for cash, but I can't believe the PAC made that much money on cola and beer during the second break. One interval between the second and third pieces would have been plenty.

Rant over. I was particularly glad to have had the 40th Symphony, since it is a particular favorite of both of us. Georgie was able to stay through the 41st, famous as the "Jupiter" symphony (a tag added after Mozart's death)and said that it was played with the same skill and verve as the others, although she does not care for that one as much as the prior pieces.
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