Sunday, March 21, 2010


We've just returned from attending the Buffalo Philharmonic's "Family" concert this afternoon, which was "Pirate" themed. It was an entertaining hour, with musical selections that were all relevant to either pirates or the sea or both. They started with the overture to The Flying Dutchman by Wagner, although in what is starting to seem like an odd habit for the BPO, they didn't play the entire thing. I'm not sure what all the abridging is about, over at Kleinhans, but it's starting to get really disconcerting to hear pieces I know well and then note the absence of parts of those pieces. I suppose the rationale today was that it was a children's program and the entire ten minute overture might lose them at some point, but...well, I'm a fan of playing the entire work, as I've noted previously.

Anyway, they did one of the Pirate King's numbers from The Pirates of Penzance, a selection from Debussy's La Mer, the storm from Peter Grimes by Britten, and a couple of welcome selections of film music: Captain Blood by Korngold and Pirates of the Caribbean, credited to Klaus Badelt but really written by Hans Zimmer. Everything was played with lots of vim and vigor by the BPO musicians (minus a few of the personnel, whom I assume must have been given days off as the orchestra has just returned from a Florida tour), even if conductor Joseph Young set some awfully brisk tempi and kept things moving a bit too quickly for my tastes. (A little rubato never hurt anyone, folks!)

The selections were played amidst a running storyline of sorts as Maestro Young tried to win over the guest "pirate crew" (played by members of a local college men's choir) and let him onto their crew. He conducted a good portion of the program wearing an enormous tricorn on his head, which was nice. I keep waiting for the tricorn to come back into fashion, but I think it may be done.

Anyhow, it was an enjoyable hour at the BPO. These family concerts are fun. Now, if I could get the Resident Kid to get more enthusiastic about them! But Rome wasn't built in a day, and I remember that when I was her age, going to orchestra concerts wasn't my favorite thing to do, either. Took me a few years of playing an instrument before I decided I loved the idea of concert-going.

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