Last Saturday I attended a spectacular concert. My wife, Sue, has been playing Fourth Horn in the Middletown (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra for the past 25 plus years, and I have dutifully attended those concerts when I can. I’ll let you in on a secret. The Middletown Symphony is good! Last Saturday was one of those quality concerts.
The first half was Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony (Pathetique). Composed by the mature Tchaikovsky, it was debuted (and conducted by the composer) in St Petersburg on October 28, 1893. Pyotr Ilyich was a master in orchestration, and in bringing the full power the orchestra into reality. I love the “Romantic” period of Classical Music, largely because of what Tchaikovsky created. There were other great composers at the time, but you have to love Tchaikovsky. How did he do it? Where did the music come from? I am in wonder. Amazing.
The tragic part of all this is that Tchaikovsky died 9 days later on November 6, 1893. Although his official cause of death was listed as “cholera”, he most likely committed suicide. What a loss. He was only 53. I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
A good short biography of Tchaikovsky is found at the following link. Of note is the volume of what he created. Really phenomenal music.
The second half of the program was Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, played by 18 year old Chad Hoopes. Tchaikovsky composed this in 1878 when he was 38 years old. It is very difficult for me to convey what I witnessed. Chad is (arguably) the BEST YOUNG VIOLINIST IN THE WORLD. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will. I really shouldn’t use the word young, because he plays with maturity most concertizing soloists will never achieve. With Chad playing on a 1713 Antonio Stadivari violin, I heard perfection in instrument, composer, and virtuoso. Stradivari, Tchaikovsky, & Hoopes; each contributing their part. 18th Century, meets 19th Century, meets 21st Century. It was all there, and I was lucky enough to participate as a listener. As a watcher. It spoke to me as only music can. To my heart.
I invite you to click on Chad’s web site to learn more about this amazing artist.
Also, here is a link to a very good video that shows what Chad accomplished last year as the “Artist in Residence” at Minnesota Public Radio.
What would I like to impart to you? Participate in the ARTS. If you are not on the creative side (artist, composer, playwright, actor, musician…), be on the consumer side. Attend a showing, a play, or a concert. By participating… every once in a while, you’ll be rewarded by something truly great! You have to “play” to win, so to speak. Participate.
Post Script: I was privileged to be able to sing “The Legend”, by Tchaikovsky the next morning in church. Privileged to participate. Blessed by music. And blessed down through these years by Tchaikovsky. Saddened by what could have been, if he had lived longer.