Podcast #4 - HSO's Opening Pops Concert - America the Beautiful

Hear Stuart talk about this weekends pops opener.

The Mets - A Post-Mortem

What a disappointment.... and yet, what a great game.

My Dad said yesterday that there is nothing like watching baseball if it's a close game and you care about who wins. I think it's the sheer length of time between pitches that makes games like the last two tantalizingly painful, almost unbearable to watch. Tonight, my pulse was racing the whole game (maybe this should be explored as a substitute for cardiovascular workouts...hmm...). In one particular stretch - when Endy Chavez incredibly caught Scott Rolen's home run ball over the fence - my emotions went from dejection to exultation in about 5 seconds. I experienced this before - most notably in the 10th Inning of game 6 of the '86 World Series (yes, I was at the game - one of the great moments of my life). But we'll save that discussion for happier times.

Anyways... the Mets' great season is over, and I have to hand it to them, they made a good run at it, especially given that two of their starters were injured, and unable to pitch. Having said that, hats off to the Cardinals, who shut down the Mets' powerful lineup. In the end it was the lack of offensive production, not weak pitching, that cost the Mets this last game.

I hope the Tigers sweep. I know it's petty, but I'll allow myself this last base wish before closing the book on the 2006 season.

My heart clings to those immortal words, sung by Robert Merrill in the final moments of the orchestral cult classic, Brooklyn's Baseball Cantata, "Just wait 'till next year comes!"

Opening Night at the HSO

Well, another opening weekend is over, and I have to say I am very pleased with the outcome.

First of all, I thought the orchestra played beautifully. I cannot remember an opening concert that went as smoothly and pleasantly from first rehearsal to final performance. The orchestra came ready to work, was in a good collective mood, and everyone played their hearts out.

Second, as always, I enjoyed working with Jeffrey Biegel. This was our eighth collaboration and he never disappoints. We gave the Billy Joel "Symphonic Fantasies for Piano and Orchestra" a very good reading. Many in our audience thoroughly enjoyed the piece, some did not at all - this is to be expected with un-tried and true repertoire - but at the very least, they heard an excellent rendition on which to base their judgement.

Third, the crowds were good. There is a certain number of audience members - I would guess about 1100 - at which point the Forum feels full. Below this point, it doesn't feel empty, but certainly un-full. Both performances this past weekend felt nicely full. It makes a big difference to us on the stage. (Of course, I'd be thrilled to see no empty seats....)

I feel we are off to a very good start. It definitely helps that the repertoire was well-known to the players. This adds a certain comfort level to the preparation. I'm interested in seeing how things go from here. Next month, we tackle the magnificent "Inextinguishable" Symphony #4 of Nielsen. I would not be surprised if the majority of the players have never played it before. Our audience is in for a sonic treat, plus I know that everyone will love Vivaldi's Four Seasons with our concertmaster, Odin Rathnam, playing the solo - and yours truly playing the harpsichord.

Anyhow....onward and upward!

Podcast #3 - Dvorak Symphony #8

A discussion of Dvorak's masterpiece. This one is about 15 minutes long. Is that too much for you? Please let me know.... In fact, any feedback would be welcome!