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Raymonda: Going to bed tonight (blog 7)

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Leaving the "plot hole" aside, that drew my attention to other things, the performance itself. Overall, I approve of the conductor. He picked some excellent interpretations for some of the numbers, though on certain things I heavily disagreed on. But another thing struck my attention: the orchestra was holding itself back. But... why? This isn't opera where the orchestra could easily overpower singers! This is ballet! Can music overpower dancing? Pish-posh! The absolutely awesome sections were when the orchestra really played out, such as the end of Act 2, and the brass were really playing out. THAT is the sound I was looking for! I knew they could do it! So why did they hold back so much on everything else? For effect? I'm not sure. But things like crescendos were definitely turned down a notch from the recordings I know so well. Did the conductor ask for this? I guess this is what I get for having a history with Glazunov exclusively with recordings. I'm use to the full Symphony Orchestra sound with editing and not always the live sound of a slightly smaller theater orchestra. There were definitely less strings, but even the woodwinds sounded faint sometimes, and even though I was right next to the pit, it wasn't always projecting the way I like it. Would it have been better in the balcony? No, I don't think so. I think being up close was the only option, so I'm glad I was there. I thought the playing was sensitive enough anyhow, and I was quite moved in the more serious moments. The music itself covers over any errors that were made, even an ironic one of the piano variation in Act 3. Not a difficult piece for a pianist! But perhaps nerves got in the way, since it had to be perfectly synchronized with the dancing.

Can I just stop to talk about how interesting it is to hear him live?? It's cliche to say, but it's so different, yet so alike! I could hear everything, all the details! Yes, even though the playing was very soft and even gave the impression of being timid (especially the really hard moments), it was still very clear. I could hear the instrumentation even better than a recording. I heard a place where I had no idea the harp was playing before! I also appreciated the sound of the pizzicatos because that projects quite well, sometimes better than recordings. Glazunov really can be that transparent! And for that reason, his music gave off a really different impression than I was expecting. First, what is so "lush" about Glazunov suddenly became more theatrical but not heavy-handed. Feelings of "schmaltz" and sugar dissipated. But how is that possible when it's the same music? Somehow the music becomes more tangible, more natural, and then it made me wonder, this music isn't that sugary at all! It's quite refreshing, even clear! If it was sugary, how could I have sat through all those hours without feeling sick? No! The music flew by without any feelings of tediousness. And yet, when it ended, I felt a mixed feeling of satisfaction and longing. I was glad it ended, but then at the same time I felt ready to listen to the whole thing over again, a continuous cycle of beginnings and endings. They didn't play this one dance in Act 3 I was so looking forward to, the Galop right before the Apotheosis. So that's all the more reason to see another production one day, a better, more lavish and accurate one!

Rather than be uplifted to some awfully high height, I felt incredibly grounded by this performance, disappointments aside. Glazunov seems to do that with me a lot. His music makes me want to live in the moment, but still relive those moments. He makes me not want to give up on the earth, that there is still reason to live! In the end, he was what really made the evening worth it. Perhaps to compliment it, I must listen to Svetlanov's performance again, to get that soundscape back in my mind that I'm so use to and more emotionally attached to. At least one moment legitimately made me cry, and that was of course the Entr'acte in Act 1, one of the most lyrical moments in the whole ballet. And no dancing! Just pure music. Pure Glazunov. I still remember it dearly now...

I can't help thinking what bad luck Glazunov had. He was the most unlucky lucky person to ever live, perhaps. He had everything, and yet, always something posed against him. Here, his music is contrasted with the meager ballet plot. What ill-fate! Although so many things went right for him in his life, would anything go right for him when it mattered? What frustration he must have had sometimes, not even speaking of Raymonda in particular! All his gifts were marred with some sort of setback, over and over, in his lifetime and even now. But the music, all the music, it stands! It upheld everything, it thrived in spite of everything! It's so powerful that it is its own story, a better story even! He was the product of Providence. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Glazunov knew this too, his powerlessness. All he could control was how he reacted to circumstances, and to separate the important from the unimportant. A Job kind of character. It kept him a sane man, but he was deeply unhappy about many things, things he was reluctant to say even in his music, for fear of telling the lie that life is in vain, for he knew that ultimately wasn't the truth... the truth must triumph!

We are not done yet, he and I. I long to see this ballet again, and tonight I will imagine the music again. I will meet him in better circumstances the next time around, perhaps! But perhaps all those things don't really matter anymore. As for me, I am content to keep on living my life of recordings only, of musings and memories, of promoting his work, and of celebrating his person too. This was God's gift to me, this performance, and I thank him for it. Glazunov is the best gift I've ever had, and this was the best presentation of this to date. Face to face indeed!

If it had been a date, I would have said to him, "Let's do this again. And again. And again..."

May it never end...

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Updated Feb-25-2016 at 19:12 by Huilunsoittaja

Classical Music , Personal , Other , Composers