A horrid week, but capped by an absolutely wonderful night Saturday, though. Michel Camilo revisited the Auditorium, but this time to debut a symphony he has written and entitled “Tenerife”.
A few days ago, confirming arrangements for driving up there with the friend with whom I went, I confessed that when I booked the tickets I assumed it was going to be a jazz concert like the one we saw four years or so ago. I received an email from the ticket agency, and booked immediately on the strength of his name, without checking it out, had I done so, I might not have booked, because, operating on a very tight budget these days, I would probably have decided this concert was of less interest than my pocket could afford. I commented that I would just as soon listen to classical music on cd, where I would hear the world’s best musicians in the comfort of my own home. Plus there was little visual entertainment…but how wrong could I have been?!
The Tenerife Symphony Orchestra began with Beethoven’s 5th…..does it ever fail to get an audience going?? I am not knowledgeable about classical music at all, but the first concert I ever went to, back in my teens, was Beethoven’s 5th, so I have a very soft spot for it. What I had never seen before in real life was a truly great conductor. Sure, I’d seen them on tv, but to be in the presence of a musician like Lü Jia, who has been the guest conductor this season, teaches the meaning of the word awesome. Even watching his back the energy and passion were evident, but when one caught a glimpse of his profile you could see that he was living every note. His face glowed.
I could say the same of Michel Camilo, who played piano for his own symphony. This man excudes not only enthusiasm and energy, but a sheer “niceness” too. His smile could light up the entire Auditorium, his pleasure in the standing ovation was palpable, and just how he does it I don’t know, but his humility was also evident. As for the symphony, it was quite overwhelming. Muscially, it drew on Elmer Bernstein, classic music, and modern jazz, with more than a nod to ragtime and African rythmns. In other words a fusion, a glorious fusion. In my head I visited volcanos and cliffs. I watched huge waves crashing onto rocks, and I glided over a calm, moonlit ocean. I even took a stoll along a tourist promenade. There were times when i didn’t even want to breathe! He took two encores without the orchestra, one in similar style, and the other rousing ragtime to cap the night.
Despite not feeling my best, I loved every minute of my evening, even the drive there and back was relaxing enough, and troublefree. We had a salad before the concert, sitting in a pavement café under a warm sky. I know the good things about living here. wee