♥ Kentucky Center/Moscow State Symphony Orchestra ♥

Tonight, I got to go to the Kentucky Center to see the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. One of the Meetup groups I am a member of was offered a block of free seats, and I thought, "What better way to see the symphony than for free?!" It turns out it was even better than I expected...they had seated us in the 11th row! Pretty cool!

The Kentucky Center is located on Main Street in downtown Louisville, just one block from the Ohio River.

(Not my photos)

The Kentucky Center houses Whitney Hall, where the concert was tonight, and the Bomhard Theater. It also handles ticket sales for various other theaters in downtown, such as the Brown Theater and the theater at the Louisville Visitors Center. The Kentucky Center hosts the Broadway Across America series, along with concerts (I missed Josh Turner last month...but was pleasantly surprised to know that he played in such a (relatively) small, intimate theater environment!), comedy acts, and dance performances (The Nutcracker Ballet, Cirque du Soleil, etc.).

As an aside, I don't think I have emphasized yet how much I enjoy driving in downtown Louisville. I have lived in (and visited) many cities where driving downtown was crowded, stressful, and confusing. I would only travel into town as a last resort. However, in Louisville, everything seems more spread out. There is rarely any crazy traffic. It generally feels safe. It's pretty. And there is always something going on!

Now, on to the Moscow State Symphony.

They opened with Capriccio Italien by Tchaikovsky. It was so incredible, it made me tear up several times! Tchaikovsky is one of my favorite composers to begin with (you can read a little bit about his life here if you'd like), and being re-immersed into the life of performing arts after hiatus always gets me a little emotional. I was a student in some combination of dance, band, choir, and theater from preschool through college. My biggest dream was to perform on Broadway. Second to that was being in an orchestra.

The next piece that the orchestra performed was Piano Concerto in A minor by Grieg. I have never been a big fan of Grieg. I find his music somewhat dark. This piece was no exception, although the Adagio was very beautiful. The pianist was an American, Jeremy Denk, and even tough I didn't care for the music, he was very talented.

A brief intermission, and then Pictures at an Exhibit by Mussorgsky. A great Russian name. Speaking of which, it was so fun to read through the list of musicians and see names like Evgeniya, Alexey, Pavel, Glab, Ivan, Natalia, Anastasia, Olga, Ekaterina, and Anatoly. Simple pleasures! Anyway, this final piece was ok to me. Some parts were dark, like the Grieg piece, but there were other parts (particularly the last two or three movements) that were very good. Overall, though, the level of talent in the orchestra was just astonishing.

The audience went nuts...applauding, yelling, a standing ovation after each piece...and we were treated to three short encore performances! I couldn't tell you what pieces they played, but I so wish that I could because I liked all three of them! For the last one, the conductor left the stage while the orchestra continued to play by themselves, and only came back out in time to end the piece! It was good for a laugh!

Here are just some of my observations from the evening:
  • They make it look so easy...moving their fingers so quickly without breaking a sweat!
  • I enjoy watching violin players who get so into the music that their bodies start swaying in rhythm.
  • It makes me smile when I catch some toe-tappers in the orchestra.
  • I don't think there is a musical instrument I love to listen to more and is more emotionally charged than an oboe. Especially when paired with a clarinet or flute.
  • I love percussion. Loud, powerful, room shaking percussion.
  • I am always impressed by the amount of coordination needed to play the piano. Both hands, doing different things, crossing over one another...and moving your feet!
  • I love the sound of stringed instruments being plucked.
  • The richness of a french horn is a close second to the emotion of the oboe. Add a few trumpets and its even better.
  • A good bass line...tuba, bassoon, bass...makes me happy.

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