Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Silent Instrument Solo — Osmo Vänskä — Finally Finale

Tonight was my last concert with the Mostly Mozart Festival this season. (The Mozart Requiem performed this weekend has no oboes, alas.) I am so grateful to Jane Moss and Louis Langrée for creating in this festival a place where artistry, ideas, and accomplishment are nourished in an atmosphere of creative ferment. As a work environment for performers, Mostly Mozart is simply unparalleled. The future of classical music is bright in hands such as theirs. The warmest gratitude and admiration also goes to Lisa Takemoto, Production Manager, for spellbinding efficiency. No possible need could go unanticipated under her watch!

The Beethoven First Symphony Osmo Vänskä led tonight was of incredible clarity and musical commitment. The first movement ends, quizzically enough, with a bar of silence. The printed rest in our parts indicates a duration of no sound sounded for the length of one measure. The instrument best suited to play a rest is the silent instrument, that of the conductor. Tonight, Osmo, played his solo bar privately for the orchestra's enjoyment only. (No small feat in such a public place.) After the last chord, he discreetly made the motion of an additional downbeat, thereby ending the movement with Beethoven's rest.

So ends my month of Mostly Mozart. The work has been utter joy and in finality comes rest.
And, don't forget, the rest is noise, too. (Thank you, Alex Ross, for taking note.)


scrawford said...

that's so beautiful, James. It's nice to see so much joy in one post.

James Roe said...

And thanks to you for all your encouragement, and good example!