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Seattle Symphony Review

Venessa and I subscribed to the Symphony this season. We got the 3-performance package, and our first show was opening night. As a treat, the Symphony gave subscribers an upgrade coupon so we were able to upgrade our tickets to some of the best seats in the house: the 2nd closest Founders Box!

The show had 3 pieces:

Frank Zappa: Dupree’s Paradise
I'd only heard the rock arrangement, so I didn't know what to expect. The symphonic arrangement was toned down, but still frenetic. As a spectator, finding the ever-moving lead was the musical equivalent of watching a tennis match. I'm a fan of Zappa's music, though I don't think his genius translates to a large ensemble. It was extremely weird and dissonant, but that's not really what I go to the symphony for.

Henri Dutilleux: L’arbre des songes
This was another weird, dissonant piece. Pairing it with Zappa was like eating too many sour patch kids at once. The sololist was reading off his score, yet he didn't flip any pages for the entire 25 minute song. My guess is that his sheet music was only one page long and it just said "Play the weirdest noises you can make up for 25 minutes straight" in French. The best part of this piece was when the symphony tuned up in the middle of the song. Apparently it's in the score.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, in E-flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica"
This was absolutely mind-blowing. Every player was on their A game, especially the flautist. That guy totally redefined classical awesomeness for me. If you've never heard this piece (which I hadn't till we bought our tickets), give it a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHvztnHOWEQ

Apparently it's the first piece Beethoven wrote after starting to go deaf, and it's also the first romantic symphony, departing in a few ways from the classical music of the time (e.g. syncopation, dynamics). I'm no classical expert so I'll stop now.

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