Monday, June 12, 2017

National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center

I got an email last week from the Kennedy Center to see this performance for just around $30 a ticket. What a steal: I had to go! Here are the pieces I heard that night:

Mason Bates' Garages of the Valley

He was at the performance; he looks like this, but with gray hair now. Image found here.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find a video of this piece. But here is some information from his website:

Much of the Digital Age was dreamed up in the most low-tech of spaces. The garages that dot the landscape of Silicon Valley housed the visionaries behind Apple, Hewlett Packard, Intel, and Google. The imagined music of these tech workshops begins hyper-kinetically yet sporadically, filled with false starts. It soon flashes into a quicksilver world of out exotic textures and tunings that is informed by the music of Frenchman GĂ©rard Grisey (whose imaginative orchestrations sound electronic but are completely unplugged). The exhilarating finale reflects the infectious optimism of the great inventors of our time, who conjured new worlds within the bright Valley’s dark garages.


3 flutes (2nd = alto flute, 1.2.3. = piccolo)
2 flutes (2nd = alto flute & piccolo)
2 oboes (2nd = English Horn)
2 Bb clarinets (2nd = Eb clarinet & bass clarinet) 2 bassoons
2 horns in F 2 C trumpets
percussion (1-2 players)
marimba (with low C extension), woodblock, sandpaper blocks, djembe, sus. cymbal, bongo, glockenspiel, triangle, xylophone, hi-hat, bass drum

Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23

Image found here
Alice Sara Ott was the pianist, and she was SO into her performance! I was lucky enough to find a video of her playing the same piece, just with a different orchestra:

Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44

Because I was able to take a nap that afternoon before the performance, I actually stayed awake for the entire show (which never happens!). I did enjoy the music, but honestly, it's hard to go wrong with Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Bravo!

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