Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Triple Treat At Houston's Jones Hall

As we are nearing a close of the 2013/2014 Houston Symphony Orchestra concert season with just a couple of weeks left, the fetching Mrs. B and I are so happy to be attending tonight's grand concert at Jones Hall in Houston.  This will be a triple treat tonight with the epic Beethoven Triple Concerto for violin, cello and piano.  This triple I am sure will be a home run with the patrons at Jones Hall because of the three soloists involved.  Two of the soloists, the violinist and cellist are members of the Houston Symphony Orchestra: concertmaster Frank Huang and principal cello Brinton Averil Smith.  For the fetching Mrs. B and I, while we love each and every member of the orchestra, Frank Huang and Brinton Averil Smith are our two favorites to watch.  Because of where are seats are located, we get a perfect view of both of these great virtuosi.  [both of them show so much emotion and passion in their playing]  The concertmaster Frank Huang is the leader of the violins, usually to the left of the conductor [as he is facing the orchestra]; and the principal cellist, Brinton Averil Smith is the leader of the cellos, usually to the right or right in front of the conductor.  The solo pianist is the brilliant young South Korean who graduated from New York's Julliard School of Music, Joyce Yang. 

HSO Concertmaster Frank Huang

HSO Principal Cello Brinton Averil Smith

Pianist Joyce Yang

What will make this concert even more of a triple treat, is that at the Prelude lecture held about 45 minutes before the start of the concert, will be all three soloists, Frank, Brinton, and Joyce, that will be playing in the Beethoven Triple Concerto. Anyone attending tonight's concert in Houston, please come early if you have never been to the Prelude lecture before. I love those almost as much as the actual concert itself.

Please check out this previous post on the Tales about the Beethoven Triple Concerto: "Once, Twice, Three Times A Concerto".

After intermission will be the great Finnish Romantic composer Jean Sibelius' Symphony #5. Here is how it is described on the Houston Symphony Orchestra website:  "The Houston Symphony’s Concertmaster Frank Huang and Principal Cellist Brinton Averil Smith join pianist Joyce Yang for a moving performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. After intermission, take-in the brooding tranquility of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5. In the last movement of this mysterious work, hear a glorious horn theme paint a picture of the summer sun coming through the parting clouds."

The Sibelius 5th Symphony is unusual in that it has only 3 movements instead of the usual four of a classical symphony and also unusual in that the final movement begins in a fast tempo, and changes to a slow tempo with the entrance of the horns introducing the mesmerizing theme. 

As always, when Mrs. B and I go to hear our great Houston Symphony Orchestra, Tales likes to give you a small sample of what we will be hearing.   

Note: In the Beethoven Triple Concerto you will see the soloists have the musical score in front of them like the rest of the orchestra members.  As I stated in my post "Once, Twice, Three Times A Concerto", it is normal for the soloists in either a double or triple concerto to have the music in front of them, unlike in a solo concerto, where the soloist almost always plays by memory.

Please turn up the volume and enjoy!


L.V. Beethoven: Concerto For Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra: Movement 3, Rondo Alla Polaca:




Jean Sibelius: Symphony #5 in E-Flat Major, Movement 3, Allegro molto-Misterioso:




Update:  What an awesome concert the fetching Mrs. B and I saw.  Bravo, Houston Symphony Orchestra.  What was also awesome was the Prelude, the pre-concert talk that included the three soloists for the Beethoven Triple Concerto.  I got up the nerve to ask the concertmaster a question: "Why in a solo concerto does the soloist almost always play without the music, but in a double or triple concerto the sheet music is used?  Is it tradition?" 

Concertmaster Frank Huang thought for a second and said it may be partly tradition.  Then he said, in a solo concerto, there are not as many complexities with the interaction between the soloists that a [double or triple] concerto have, so it is easier to memorize [which involve mostly melodies] a solo concerto.  He turned to cellist Brinton Averil Smith who gave basically the same answer and added it might be partly tradition.  Then, concertmaster Frank Huang turned back to me and said, "That was really a great question."  

Talk about making your day, when the great concertmaster said that to me, it made my year!  :-) 

Thanks again Houston Symphony Orchesta!

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