Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Friday, June 19, 2015

Laser U2

The last time I saw a laser show was many years ago at the old Hansen Planetarium downtown and, ironically, it featured the music of U2. I recently discovered that the U2 show is back at the Clark Planetarium for the summer so I decided to check it out last night because, as you know, I love U2. It is seriously awesome!  If you've never been to a laser show at the planetarium before, there are images, lasers, and other cool special effects projected on a giant domed screen above you while music, in this case the music of U2, plays from speakers all around you. The seats in the dome theater are slightly reclining so you are looking up at the giant screen and sometimes it feels as if you are spinning. The images and lasers are in sync with the music and I really loved all of the songs they played such as "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Pride (In The Name of Love)," "Beautiful Day," "With or Without You," "The Fly," "Mysterious Ways," and "Elevation."  My favorite sequence was in "Bullet the Blue Sky" because there were lasers shooting up almost continually.  So cool! The crowd talked our projectionist into an encore and he played "Vertigo" for us. I think there were quite a few of us who had a little bit of vertigo when we stood up after the show.  I'm telling you, it's a little bit trippy but it is such a fun night out. Go here for more information about the U2 show as well as the other laser shows featuring the music of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (I want to see them, too) playing in the dome theater.  Tickets are very reasonably priced at $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for children. While you are at the planetarium, there are lots of free exhibits to wander through as well as all of the star shows and movies in the IMAX theater.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bronfman Plays Brahms

Every time I attend a Utah Symphony performance I learn something new about classical music!  There is so much I don't know!  Last night I heard an amazing piece by a composer I had never heard of before and I absolutely loved it.  The piece is called Transfigured Night and the composer is Arnold Schoenburg.  It is based on a poem of the same name by Richard Dehmel in which a couple walk through a forest on a moonlit night.  The woman confesses to her lover that she bears another man's child and the man ultimately forgives her at the end of the poem.  The music reflects all of the emotions the couple experience beginning slowly, softly, and mournfully then building to a frenzy as the man ponders what the woman has done.  The ending is absolutely beautiful signifying the man's acceptance and love of the woman.  Sometimes music can have a profound effect on me and this piece certainly evoked many emotions as I listened to it!  I must add it to my growing list of favorites!  After the intermission, world renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman joined the orchestra to play Piano Concerto No. 2 by Johannes Brahms.  It was quite spectacular and I literally could not look away from his fingers deftly moving up and down the keyboard.  I found this piece to be very emotional and I loved the motif played by the woodwinds in the first movement and the theme played by the solo cello in the third movement.  Bronfman received a rousing standing ovation after which he favored the audience with a delightful encore.  It was a lovely concert which will be performed again tonight.  Go here for tickets and information.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mahler's Symphony No. 1

As much as I love hearing the Utah Symphony perform at outdoor venues (see here and here) during the summer, I have been anticipating their return to Abravanel Hall for weeks!  Last night was not only the opening concert for the Utah Symphony's 2014-2015 season, but it was also the beginning of a two-year project to perform all of Mahler's symphonies in honor of Maurice Abravanel (who recorded many of them) and the 75th Anniversary of the Utah Symphony next season.  I, unfortunately, am not very familiar with Mahler but I hope to learn more about him and his music this season and next and, if last night is any indication, I am in for a treat!  This concert was wonderful!  The orchestra began with The Iron Foundry by Mosolov and I think we all know how I feel about Russian music!  This piece was composed after the Russian Revolution and incorporates Social Realism.  It is meant to convey the worker as a hero and the percussion actually mimics the sound of machinery.  It is a short piece but I thought it was brilliant, especially the theme played by the horns.  It built to such a crescendo that I was stunned for a moment before I realized it was over!  Next came Wellington's Victory by Beethoven.  This piece actually commemorates the Battle of Vitoria rather than the more famous Battle of Waterloo but it is stirring and incorporates bits of "Rule Britannia" and "God Save the King."  The percussion section certainly had a good time creating artillery sound effects (I think some of the percussionists had a little too much fun with the poppers) and I liked the two sets of snare drums on either side of the stage representing the British on one side and the French on the other.  Very entertaining.  Mahler's Symphony No. 1 was performed after the intermission.  It was recorded for commercial release sometime next year and, for some reason, I thought that was a little bit exciting.  I really enjoyed this piece because it is very atmospheric and prominently features the woodwind section (I played the clarinet in school).  I especially loved the third movement, because of the mournful theme played by a solo double bass, and the fourth movement, because of the fanfare played by the standing horn section.  This same concert will be performed again tonight and I highly recommend that you get a ticket if you are local.  If you can't make it tonight, make plans to attend a concert during the upcoming season (go here for more information and tickets).  I promise you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Music of U2

One of my very favorite things to do in the summer is to see a Utah Symphony concert at the Deer Valley resort.  I love being in the mountains and I love listening to music!  Several months ago, I was picking up some tickets from the box office at Abravanel Hall and I saw a concert entitled "The Music of U2" on a brochure for the Deer Valley Music Festival.  I may or may not have hyperventilated because I really love U2.  The ticket representative took great pains to assure me that U2 would not actually be performing, which I thought was hilarious!  Marilyn and I always see a concert every summer and I told her this was the one I wanted.  I imagined that U2's music would sound fantastic played by a symphony orchestra (and it did).  Marilyn was not able to go to the concert last Saturday night so Tashena volunteered because she is required to see one live music performance every term in her orchestra class.  She is already thinking ahead to the new school year!
Most people bring picnics to eat before the concert so Tashena and I stopped at Subway for ours and it was delicious.  Tashena enjoyed people-watching because some bring very elaborate picnics and she was particularly fascinated by the wine glass holders that stick in the ground.
I wasn't sure if Tashena would like this concert so I told her to bring something to do.  She told me if she got bored she would just go to sleep.  She ended up really enjoying it but she was horrified because I was screaming and singing along!  It's not a successful outing unless I can embarrass her!  The Utah Symphony was joined by vocalist Brody Dolyniuk who sounded remarkably like Bono.  Apparently he also performs the music of The Who, Queen, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and the Eagles with symphony orchestras around the country.  I would love to see the Led Zeppelin show!
They played a cross-section of music spanning U2's thirty year career including "Vertigo," "Angel of Harlem," "Desire," "In God's Country," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "New Year's Day," "I Will Follow," "Walk On," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "One," "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of," "Bad," "Mysterious Ways," "With or Without You," and "Pride (In The Name of Love).  For the encore they performed "Where The Streets have No Name."  I thought it was a great selection.  Tashena recognized "I Still Haven't Found..." and "With or Without You" and she danced to "Mysterious Ways."  During the intermission I asked her if she was bored and she told me she really liked it and wanted to look at her parents' iTunes account to see if they had any U2 songs she could download.  I had so much fun with her!

Note:  On the way home I let Tashena pick the radio station and I didn't recognize any of the songs.  It occurred to me that "Sunday Bloody Sunday" came out when I was approximately Tashena's age and I probably annoyed my parents singing U2 songs all the time!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Utah Symphony at the Waterfall

On Wednesday afternoon I was driving to American Fork to get the oil changed in my car and, as I passed Thanksgiving Point, I noticed on the marquee that the Utah Symphony would be performing in the Waterfall Amphitheatre that night.  I was unable to see the concert at Sundance last week so I spontaneously decided to go (it was the same program).  I bought tickets while sitting in the waiting room at my dealership!  It was an absolutely gorgeous summer evening and I was thrilled to be seeing another outdoor performance in a venue I had never been to before!  I will have to add the Waterfall Amphitheatre to my list!  As I was looking through the program, I noticed that there would be fireworks!  Score!  The concert began with a few patriotic numbers and then the orchestra played Gershwin's Piano Concerto with Mary Anne Huntsman as soloist.  After the intermission Celena Shafer sang Musetta's Aria from La Boheme.  Oh my goodness, it was amazing!  I love that opera and I always love hearing Shafer sing!  She also sang "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess which was lovely!  Then the orchestra played a medley from West Side Story.  For the finale, we heard Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture complete with cannons provided by the Wasatch Cannoneers.  This piece is unbelievably stirring!  I have heard it many times and it never gets old.  The cannons make me jump every time!  Then came a spectacular fireworks show!  I love watching fireworks and it was such a beautiful evening!  I need to be spontaneous more often!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances

When I first started listening to classical music, my favorite composer was Mozart.  I think much of his music is light, airy, and beautiful; easily accessible for a beginner.  When I became a bit more knowledgeable about classical music my taste grew more sophisticated.  I became a fan of the Russian composers because, to me, their music is so passionate.  Luckily last night's Utah Symphony concert featured two of my favorites:  Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff!  Let me tell you, I was definitely ready for a relaxing evening listening to beautiful music!  The orchestra began with Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 6, which concluded the Nielsen Symphony Cycle.  I have enjoyed getting to know a composer I was unfamiliar with this season and I particularly enjoyed this piece because it prominently featured the woodwind section (I played the clarinet in school).  Next the orchestra played Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, featuring Matthew Zalkind on solo cello (Zalkind is the son of two current Utah Symphony members).  I thought he was amazing.  Towards the end of the piece, the solo cello played a theme (echoed by the clarinet) that was so hauntingly beautiful I held my breath!  I think Tchaikovsky's music is so emotional.  The concert concluded with Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and I absolutely loved this piece.  In my opinion it is very evocative of Russia and, once again, it heightened my anticipation for a trip to Russia this summer.  I also really enjoyed all of the percussion in this piece.  This concert was a wonderful conclusion to a very enjoyable 2013-2014 season and a lovely start to the long Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Can't Wait for Summer Vacation!

Sometimes the closing of the school year is hard.  This year is proving to be more difficult than usual so I am concentrating on all of the fun things that I hope to do this summer.

Deer Valley Music Festival
When it gets really hot in the valley, it is nice to head up to the mountains at the Deer Valley Resort and hear the Utah Symphony play under the stars!  You can bring a blanket and a picnic and sit on the hill or there are seats available near the stage.  This is one of my favorite things to do in the summer and we have heard the orchestra play the 1812 Overture (complete with real cannons) several times.  The pictures above are from last year's Bravo Broadway concert, which was fantastic.  I just got my tickets in the mail for the Music of U2 and I am beyond excited!  Go here for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets.

Utah Shakespeare Festival
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is held every summer on the campus of Southern Utah University in Cedar City (a six hour drive south of Salt Lake City).  It is another one of my favorite things to do.  Sometimes Marilyn and I spend several days and see every play and sometimes we go down for one day and see a couple.  Once I drove down to see Hamlet and then drove straight home.  It was worth it.  The pictures above are from the 2010 production of Macbeth, which was awesome.  This year I am really excited to see Into the Woods (they produce non-Shakespeare plays, too) and Twelfth Night. I'm not going to lie, I'm also excited for the raspberry tarts!   Go here for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets.

Tuacahn Amphitheatre
Tuacahn is a natural amphitheatre made out of red rock in St. George (about eight hours south of Salt Lake City).  They perform several musicals in repertory every summer and you can also purchase tickets to a pre-show dinner.  The above pictures are from the 2012 production of Hairspray.  My very favorite production here was Les Miserables because they used the terrain beyond the stage for the epic battle on the barricade.  It was amazing.  This year my student body officers are going to leadership camp at Dixie State University and we get to see The Little Mermaid.  Go here for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets.

Sundance Summer Theatre
Sundance Summer Theatre, in conjunction with the Utah Valley University Theatre Department, has produced a musical at the Sundance Resort for the past several years.  Seeing a musical in the mountains is always a great way to beat the summer heat.  We have seen The Sound of Music (Marilyn sang along with the actors), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Annie Get Your Gun.  Marilyn and I may or may not have squealed when we found out they are doing Fiddler on the Roof this year.  Go here for tickets.
The Utah Symphony also makes an appearance at the Sundance Resort.  Near the Fourth of July they perform a program featuring patriotic music (think John Philips Sousa).  I took my cousin Merry to this concert last year and we both enjoyed it.  I'm thinking of going again.  Go here for more information.

Red Butte Garden Outdoor Concert Series
Red Butte Garden is an amazing venue for outdoor concerts.  This picture is from the Crosby, Stills, & Nash concert in 2012, which was fabulous (even though I was probably the youngest person there).  This year I am going to see Natalie Cole and I am really excited about it.  Go here to check out this year's lineup and to purchase tickets (many shows are already sold out because members have priority to purchase tickets before the general public).

With all of these amazing events to look forward to, maybe I can make it through these next few weeks until summer vacation.  Maybe.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 3

Last Friday I went to another beautiful concert featuring the Utah Symphony.  In my opinion, listening to the music of Tchaikovsky is the perfect way to end the work week!  The evening began with the Russian Easter Overture by Rimsky-Korsakov (which I thought was appropriate in light of the recent Easter holiday).  I really enjoyed this piece because it reminded me of my visit to St. Petersburg (I'm going back to St. Petersburg this summer so listening to this piece really ignited my enthusiasm for the trip).  It sounded so quintessentially Russian to me.  Also, I like any piece that features the chimes!  After the intermission we heard Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 3.  Tchaikovsky has become one of my favorite composers because I think his music is so romantic and emotional.  I had never heard this particular piece before but I absolutely loved it.  There is a theme in the third movement played by a solo oboe that was so haunting that it gave me goosebumps.  It was, literally, a night of Russians because the guest conductor, Andrey Boreyko, is Russian.  He was absolutely brilliant!  I think Russian music sounds so much better with a Russian conductor or soloist because they are always so passionate.  It was definitely a lovely evening with incredible music.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mozart, Bernstein & Nielsen

I won some free tickets to a Utah Symphony concert of my choice for promoting the organization on social media.  Recently Marilyn and I used the tickets to see a lovely performance featuring the music of Mozart, my favorite composer, along with Leonard Bernstein and Carl Nielsen.  The orchestra began with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik which is one of Mozart's most popular works, certainly one of the most recognizable.  It was performed by a small chamber group and I thoroughly enjoyed it because this is one of the first pieces of classical music that I fell in love with.  I think it is light, airy, and elegant.  After this piece, the full orchestra, including a large contingent of percussion instruments, joined the group for Leonard Bernstein's Serenade, after Plato's Symposium.  This featured Kathryn Eberle, the Associate Concert Master for the Utah Symphony, on solo violin and she was amazing.  It is a series of related movements with various speakers praising the platonic idea of love.  I really enjoyed the first movement because it featured a lot of percussion.   I especially liked the chimes.  The orchestra concluded the concert with Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 5.  I was not very familiar with Carl Nielsen but, as the orchestra has been performing his Symphony Cycle this season, I have grown to appreciate his work and I was especially affected by this piece.  Many believe it was heavily influenced by the brutality of World War I.  It was very somber but I thought it ended triumphantly!  Marilyn and I had a wonderful evening.  Thanks to the Utah Symphony for the tickets!
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