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These comments will be of little interest to anyone who doesn't like classical and it's mainly for those who commented in my previous thread.

Earlier, I started a thread when beginning to attend the Sunflower Music Festival at Washburn University in Topeka. The SMF ran for 9 straight nights -- the link to the OP: http://forum.justlabradors.com/showthread.php?t=5265

Tonight was my/its last of nine straight nights attending.

It was a great experience.

There's some music I haven't yet learned to enjoy (e.g., hip hop) but I like a fairly wide variety -- pop, bluegrass, folk, jazz, most country, liturgical (especially plainsong), etc., and especially all periods of classical. So the past 9 evenings I feasted like a glutton.

As some remarked in the previous thread, the Miro Quartet is something special -- their visual impression heightens the intensity of their music. They played a Hayden quartet with 100X more zing and life than I'd ever heard. This was their second year attending and I hope there are many more. Hear and see them whenever you can; they're among the tops.

Last night all pieces were composed by Dochnanyi (quite a bit like Brahms and, so we were told, his works were shamelessly pilfered by composers of music accompaniments for films). The works we heard were performed by various musicians in various chamber music sets: from trios → sextets.

Tonight was a Chamber Orchestra night with as many as 40 musicians playing some pieces. Usually the orchestra plays the old standbys (3 Bs, etc.) so it was a very welcome change (to me) that they played a couple modern pieces, one by James Stevenson (now about 40 y.o.) and another striking one by Kevin Puts that the Miro Quartet had strongly advocated we hear. (They'd earlier played a piece by Puts that they'd commissioned.)

Their appreciation was well deserved.

The Puts was called "Clarinet Concerto, Section 60," I think. It's a piece of programmatic music, intended to evoke a memory, an appreciation of a topic. In this case, "Section 60" is an area of Arlington National Cemetery reserved primarily for deceased veterans of (the Viet Nam?) war. IMO, the clarinet soloist seemed to be capturing various thoughts, longings, hopes, fears, regrets, pains, etc., of the deceased. The rest of the orchestra (IMO) alternated between expressing the pastoral, peaceful, sacred aspect of Arlington National (where we buried my father, BTW) and the sounds of war -- machine guns, rifle fire, bombs, cannons.

That was preceded by Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" -- fittingly described by the conductor (Alex Klein) as being to music what Lincoln's Gettyburg Address is to oration. They played it in its original orchestration -- 13 players: flute, clarinet, bassoon, piano and 9 strings. I immediately preferred this version (although any is great).

They followed it with more traditional Sunflower fare: Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" and Dvorak's "Czech Suite in D Maj." (similar to his Slavonic Dances).

WHEESH!! -- what a great 9 evenings. I can't say I'm satiated -- but am sure nicely fulfilled. ♪ ♫ ♫ ♪

 
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