I attended the concert which featured Beethoven's Piano Concerto 2, and Symphony 7 on Nov. 17. It was quite an exciting evening, beginning with the first time I've seen Jonathan Crow as concert master since it was first announced at a concert I attended last season. The young, handsome gentlemen are taking over the seating along the edge of the stage. Crow is quite tall and the violin almost seemed small in his hands.
The first piece on the program was "Tibetan Swing" by Bright Sheng a Chinese-American who was in the audience for the Canadian premiere of his work. It started off minimalistic then added groups of instruments until there was a cacophony of sound. I didn't particularly enjoy this part, but preferred when it quieted down again. For me there was too much going on to understand much of anything. The trombones (particularly Gord Wolfe) were fun to watch though. While muted they were engaged in very quick full slide motions, which sounded like ducks quacking at times. Probably not the effect the composer was going for, however he was welcomed up on stage for a series of bows at the conclusion of the piece.
first movement that keeps the piece motoring along. Then the gorgeous yet simple theme in the second movement. Beethoven did a lot with 4 note patterns, case in point Symphony 5, and it created some very memorable and emotional music. The fourth movement was almost a frenzy but held together and built to a brilliant finish. In fact the audience was faster in rising to their feet at the conclusion of the symphony than for the piano concerto! Myself included. I was wide awake again for the trip home humming the first movement theme the whole way.
As an added bonus, there was in intermission chat with principal keyboardist Patricia Krueger. A few interesting tidbits: her favourite instrument to play is the triangle (which she does quite enthusiastically), and the Roy Thomson Hall organ has 5000 pipes!