Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Concierto de Aranjuez - live finally!

Posted by Hippo Bean at 8:53 PM 1 comments
"Chewing on a piece of grass Walking down the road... You don't care, I know"

We put on Ventura Highway as we got into Ventura county. It's been a habit to me now.

"Ventura Highway in the sunshine
Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine
You're gonna go I know"

The HippoJet sped on the freeway while Bunnell's lyrics conjured up the America I've always imagined.

"'Cause the free wind is blowin' through your hair
And the days surround your daylight there
Seasons crying no despair
Alligator lizards in the air"

There's nothing more American than America playing Ventura Highway. I so love this song.

We havent made a soCal road trip in a while. This time we're going for the Concierto de Aranjuez being played by the LA Phil in the Disney Concert Hall. We've always wanted to attend a concert there. I've been waiting in vain for the SF Symphony to do Rodrigo. Although the idea of a weekend road trip to LA wasnt initially too appealing, my favorite guitar concerto was well worth the hassle. The weather the week before was cold and rainy but this weekend it was perfect. Warm but breezy. Sky clear and blue. The road trip through Hi 5 was as usual, dull, boring and uneventful. The Millinnium Biltmore hotel had a grand reception area with gorgeously ornated ceiling. We made it in time for afternoon tea in the victorian lounge. The chandeliers looked ancient and historic. The tea ceremony wasnt grand but the tiny sandwiches and scones were delicious. They even had Devonshire cream! However, the rooms had tiny bathrooms with very antiquated fixtures. Our room faced a wall and T's was very noisy because it faced a busy downtown street and the windows were old and single pane. The hotel service wasnt up to its star rating. After tea we explored the Disney Concert Hall garden and Frank Gehry's architecture. I'm not much for curvy metal lines but the late afternoon sun gave the glistening curvy metals a peculiar luster that was unmatched by any other time of the day. The interior was modern and pleasing. The main Hall was intimate with every seat having a good view of the orchestra. We had front row seats on the side terrace. Young, talented and handsome Christoph Konig was the conductor and he conducted with a passion that I thought far surpassed our MTT. Romero's interpretation of Rodrigo though was a bit of disappointment to me. Maybe the mic was not close enough to his guitar, but the LA Phil orchestra simply overshadowed his guitar strings. Romero was quite skillful with the musical instrument, but I'd have liked his guitar to be more forceful and commanding. But it could be just because I prefer it that way. I found even the second movement not as hauntingly regretful as I'd have liked. Ah well, I'm being picky here. Guess I'm too used to Tokos and the Budapest Strings for this euphoric piece. I've always wondered if the beginning of the second movement was played with an English horn or some other woodwind. For days before the concert, we googled for English horn to see how exactly it looked like. I really like the sound of that thing. Finally at the concert we saw the single English horn being played and the sound was so heavenly romantic it almost made me cry. A world of difference between listening to a CD and hearing it play live. With the CD, one could only imagine. Seeing it played live right before your eyes, you get to appreciate the real unmolested sound of every instrument, and how the author played each against another, and how he combined them to give you nirvana. Ah, music soothes the savage Hippo!

 

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