Monday, October 29, 2012

The Spanish National Orchestra

     Recently I wrote about a great Flamenco guitar concert I attended at the Auditorio Nacional de Música, part of the Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical, and said I planned on attending more concerts at that venue. Well, it's happening. Friday night I showed up half an hour before the show to buy a ticket for a piano concert. After getting to my seat, which was actually situated behind the stage where the chorus sits, I realized I had bought a ticket to the wrong concert. The venue has two halls, a large one and a smaller one, and often concerts take place simultaneously. I had mistakenly purchased a ticket to see the Orquesta Nacional de España.

(The view from my seat)

The musicians wandered onto the stage and tuned their instruments, and then the conductor, Pablo Heras-Casado, entered. My vantage point from behind the stage and on almost the same level as the musicians turned out to be exciting, because I could see the conductor’s motions and faces clearly. He was a very entertaining conductor to watch, appearing happy when lighter movements were played, and wild when the music intensified, winding up and throwing his arms in the direction of a musical hit or a cymbal crash. 
The first piece was composed by Anton Webern and included the entire orchestra. For the next piece, about half of the orchestra left the stage and Anne Gastinel, a cellist, took center stage, dressed in a long metallic silver jacket and an orange sweater. This piece (Concert for Cello and Orchestra in C Major, Hob. VIIb: 1) by Hayden contained some familiar melodies, including one that sounded vey similar to the melody from “Uptown Girl” (The music video is priceless). If you want to compare the melodies, click on the Hayden piece and scroll to the later half of minute 11.  
There was an intermission before the final piece, originally a fifty minute quartet with piano written by Brahms but arranged for orchestra by Arnold Schönberg. I was very impressed by the entire concert, and felt like I was appreciating classical music properly for the first time. I really feel like my vantage point from the choir section had a lot to do with my attitude— I felt like I was part of the performance, and, unlike previous times I’ve attended an orchestral performance, I didn’t feel tired at all. Being able to see the conductor clearly gave me insight and foresight to the performance— he was like a guide giving me directions on where the performance was going next. 
I’m looking forward to attending two more concerts this week (a piano concert and a Flamenco concert) at the same venue, and as always, buying last minute discounted tickets only sold to “jóvenes” (people under 26 years old). For around six euros a piece it’s hard to pass up such quality performances. 


1 comment:

  1. Your dad is quite envious - he wants to fly over and attend all these concerts with you! I had to remind him he is not age 26 or less.