Thursday, 24 October 2013

A date with the TSO

That's the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in case you didn't know. 

Going to the symphony was one of those things that I had always said I wanted to do, but had never actually gotten around to doing.  Well, that all changed yesterday as I had my vary first symphonic experience.

Part of the reason I had never been to the symphony was because I was really intimidated to go.  I don't really know anything about classical music and I worried that I would be bored.  Also, I was a little embarrassed to ask a friend to come with me as it so wasn't one of the things "cool" kids did or something, I dunno.  Ultimately I think that stems from my lack of knowledge also. 

Last night's performance was part of the Afterworks Series.  That means that the performance has an early 6:30 start time and that they serve snacks beforehand.  Who doesn't like snacks? The performance was all wrapped up by 8:00 so if you're still hungry afterwards, it's the perfect time to go for dinner. 

The evening was hosted by Tom Allen whose enthusiasm for the music is contagious.  I had previously thought that discussions about classical music would be dull, but he made things entertaining, informative and relate-able.  He gave the music context and pointed out some key features in what we were about to hear.  I was really grateful for this as I wouldn't have caught any of that without him. 

And then the music began: 
The first piece was the Carnival Overture, Op.92 by Antonin Dvorak and it was performed with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.  It was great to see the next generation of musicians playing alongside the seasoned veterans.  The veterans played with poise and composure.  The youth played with vibrancy and  reckless abandon, or at least that's the impression I got from the way their bows and bodies moved.  I would like to give a special shout out to the lad playing the triangle.  I especially enjoyed how it looked as though at the end of your parts you had to restrain yourself from continuing on.  And to the young man playing the tambourine: I had no idea that there were so many ways to play a tambo.  Awesome! 

The Youth Orchestra left the stage and the pros serenaded us with  Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 2. This is when I feel I got my true symphony experience.  As they started to play I watched as the bows moved with synchronization, the conductor danced about on his podium and the light bounced off the horns and the woodwinds.  And then my vision blurred and my imagination took over.  I was no longer sitting in my seat. I was taken to the depths of my imagination, and trust me that goes pretty deep, but it also brings me a calmness.  I felt totally at peace during the performance and felt relaxed long after. 

Now guess how much it cost?  Go ahead, guess...... $14.  Yup, that's it.  If you are between the ages of 15 and 35 that's how much it'll cost you to go to the symphony through TSO soundcheck.  So go.  Maybe it'll be your thing and maybe it won't, but at the very least, you'll be able to check it off your I always meant to but never have list.