Monday, 31 January 2011

Joy and Tears are very close neighbours,

There is a very narrow line between laughter and tears; between joy and sorrow.
I was both teary eyed and joyous as Bishop Gene Robinson ministered to and with us yesterday at St. Boniface Church, Siesta Key, FL.

I experienced both emotions in the afternoon as I attended a Symphony concert at Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performance Center.

Our fabulous Sarasota Orchestra was at its best.  I do not know if this local orchestra is “world class”  as I have never heard some of the international greats.  

But I do know that the Sarasota Orchestra could hold its own in the finest concert halls in the United States, South America and Europe.  They are “that good”.

The programme began with the always crowd pleasing “Roman Carnival” overture by Hector Berlioz. 

Then we were treated to a superb performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto #24.  I’ve heard this work many times but yesterday’s rendition was “over the top”. Yesterday’s pianist,  Alessio Bax is a gentle and thoughtful performer. It seemed clear to me that he loved the music and the piano more than he loved himself:  i.e. he is a beautiful craftsman, and not a prima-donna.

The second movement of this concerto ranks  (for me)  as some of the most beautiful and lyrical music ever written.   Thus, as I listened yesterday, I became misty eyed with teary wonder.

The second half of the concert began with the always pleasing “Italian Symphony”  by Mendelssohn.  The orchestra was  never jaded as it played this “old chestnut”.  Thanks to the programme notes I was able to recognize and  be glad for the “star” role which Mendelssohn assigned to the (oft ignored) viola players.

The Sarasota Orchestra’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Leif Bjaland, had picked out a relatively unknown work to close the concert -  Respighi’s “Feste Romane”. 

Bjaland wisely spoke to the audience and introduced the work before it began.

Once it began we were entranced.  The music includes moments with  sublimely beautiful melodies as to make one weep.  But it also includes such wild and frenzied parts as to make us want to laugh out loud.

Sarasota audiences are (in my opinion) far too generous in their “standing ovations”. 

But at the close of this Respighi music there was nothing more to do than to stand up, and cheer like mad! 

Thank you to Leif, and to the Orchestra. I have a sense that Leif loves and respects his players, and that they love and respect him.

It had been like that at Church earlier in the day.  Bishop Robinson showered both love and respect upon the St. Boniface congregation.   We, in turn,  were “happier than clams”  to respect and honour his ministry.

Church and Orchestra   -   not far apart.

Joy and Tears -   very close.

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