Game Time!
29 Jan 2012
Inside the Classics

A week or so ago, the orchestra played a concert featuring five Hungarian Dances, two choral works, and a serenade, all by Brahms. With the exception of one of the dances (the famous #5,) this was basically The Brahms You’ve Probably Never Heard Before. It was also The Brahms Sam Has Barely Or Never Played Before, and the serenade didn’t have any violins, leaving the violas in an unusually exposed position, so the performance was on the stressful side. I managed to get through the evening without overtly shaming myself (which was good, since we were live on MPR,) but when I got home, the thought occurred to me: I’d been working so hard not to screw up that I actually had no earthly idea whether the concert had gone well or not.

This being 2012, I dumped this thought into the Facebook vortex and went to bed. The next morning, alongside a few other comments, I found this from our MPR broadcast host (and American Public Media’s classical music czar) Brian Newhouse:

“From the booth, the Dances were a little rocky in spots. (They must be harder to play than they sound, right?) The choral pieces were gwah-jous. The Serenade was cool for the visuals and the dark sound until LET THERE BE PICCOLO!”

That right there? That is without a doubt the most concise and complete review of a concert I’ve ever read. Just four sentences, and he tells you everything you might want to know about the performance. (I do suspect that the piccolo thing was probably not an issue for anyone who wasn’t listening with radio-quality headphones clamped on his ears, but I love the image of mild-mannered Brian getting knocked off his perch in the tiny broadcast booth above the stage by a Roma Moment.)

So, anyway, here’s what I’m thinking would be a fun game. You have four sentences (no run-ons) to completely sum up a performance you’ve attended recently. Doesn’t have to be a MN Orch concert, though it certainly could be (and yes, I appreciate the risk I’m taking by introducing this game right after an Inside the Classics weekend.) Doesn’t even have to be a concert, I suppose. But Brian’s set the standard: be specific, be evocative, and if possible, be funny. In the comments. Go.

<February 2020>

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