You’d think it’d be easy to give away a ticket to the symphony

Date:April 10, 2006 / year-entry #128
Orig Link:
Comments:    11
Summary:I'm sort of the ringleader of a group of friends who go in together on a block of tickets to the Seattle Symphony. I bought a pair of tickets in the block, one for myself, and one for a rotating guest. And for some reason, I had a hard time finding a guest for last...

I'm sort of the ringleader of a group of friends who go in together on a block of tickets to the Seattle Symphony. I bought a pair of tickets in the block, one for myself, and one for a rotating guest. And for some reason, I had a hard time finding a guest for last weekend's concert.

Of course, six of my friends have already been ruled out as guests because they're already coming! I asked a dozen other friends; they were all enthusiastic for the opportunity but had to decline for one reason or another. Such busy social calendars.

  • "I will be out of town { on a business trip (2x) | to visit my parents/in-laws (1x × 2) | for a chess tournament }."
  • "My parents/in-laws are visiting from out of town (2x × 2 + 1x)."
  • "I'm attending/organizing a birthday party (2x)."
  • "I'm going to a dinner party thrown by my girlfriend."
  • "I'd just fall asleep." At least this one was honest.

I did eventually find a taker for my ticket, and all the people who couldn't make it can go eat their hearts out.

I hadn't seen Mstislav Rostropovich conduct in a long time. He's older now (duh) and appears to have lost some weight, turning him into a somewhat more frail old man. Being nearly eighty years old may also be a factor... His musical stature, on the other hand, has not diminished in the least. (And he still conducts with his mouth open. Some things never change.)

After I read the story behind the composition of the Festive Overture, I found the piece even more impressive. Shostakovich's First Symphony was significantly harder to grasp—his language has always eluded me—and it wasn't helped by the audience's mistaking the grand pause near at the end of the second movement for its conclusion, or its laughter when the piece resumed. (Maestro Rostropovich seemed kind of annoyed by that.) The Prokofiev was wonderfully done, and the normally expressionless Assistant Principal Second Violin Michael Miropolsky got to show off some of his wit while acting as an interpreter when Maestro Rostropovich introduced the encore. The ovation was so resounding that the conductor had to take the concertmaster off the stage with him to tell everybody, "The show's over."

(One of the people in our symphony group has a friend who performs in the Cascade Symphony Orchestra, which Mr. Miropolsky conducts. Apparently, when he gets a microphone in his hand, Mr. Miropolsky is quite a funny guy.)

Comments (11)
  1. Rostropovich conducting instead of playing is at least a little like a brilliant developer becoming a manager – a waste of talent! :-)  (Years ago I saw Rostropovich play one of the Haydn Cello Concertos in – of all places – Daytona Beach FL.)

  2. Barry Leiba says:

    What fools, they!  An evening of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, conducted by Slava?  Oh, my, if I were in Seattle, I’d be there.

    When I lived in the other Washington area (DC), I had season tickets to the National Symphony Orchestra (when Rostropovich was Music Director there, in fact, and got to see him conduct Shostakovich’s 7th symphony, my favourite).  For part of the time, I had a regular partner to attend with, but when I didn’t, I, too, sometimes found it hard to give the ticket away.  One can understand that, when it’s a program of Druckman, Penderecki, Wuorinen, or Corigliano (critically acclaimed, all, but hard to take if one isn’t into that sort of thing).  But even concerts of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Rimsky-Korsakov didn’t have my friends clamouring at my door.

    One friend who came with me for one performance said she liked it fine, but, gee, why did they have to keep spoiling it with those "slow movements"?

  3. James Schend says:

    Is there anybody blue collar working on Windows?  Just curious.  ;)

  4. I didn’t bother inviting people I knew wouldn’t enjoy it.

  5. Daitarn says:

    Nobody gave you a quick answer like just "NO" ?

  6. johnmont says:

    For several years my wife and I had season tickets and would go religiously. Then we noticed that we were inventing excuses not to go or leaving at intermission. Eventually we stopped buying the tickets. I asked myself why several times: the programs were generally good, the hall has fine acoustics, it’s not hard to get there and park, and the tickets aren’t that expensive.

    Then I went to Boston and went to a BSO concert (Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique — and I was struck by how amazing the performace was and how amazing Symphony Hall is. I left walking on air, thinking about how the rich the harps sounded and how perfectly in tune the brass was and how edgy the E-flat clarinet was.

    Then I remembered how disappointed I was leaving so many Seattle Symphony concerts — how the intonation would be out for long stretches or how the ensemble playing would fall apart (or fail to come together at the baton drop) or how they’d play Mozart with the same weight as they’d play Mahler.

    Call me a snob, but for the price they are charging Seattle Symphony just isn’t that good a performance.

  7. Morgan says:

    Anybody who would admit to attending a chess tournament must be telling the truth. :=)

    Did the party throwers invite you also?

  8. Jeff Parker says:

    A side note Raymond if you ever get a chance to see Deborah Henson-Conant perform especially with an Orchestra I highly recomend it. Her info and schedule can be found here

    A friend of mine took me to a show of hers and I was astounded. I never heard the harp played in such a way. She also has an electric Harp she plays the blues on as well. All in all an amazing performer.

  9. alfons says:

    I’m always surprised to see the rather dull non-risky programs that American concert halls are offering compared to the European concert halls. Especially when you keep in mind that most of the important and great modern music is in fact American…

  10. Miles Archer says:

    I’ve been known to fall asleep after intermission. I’ve had to warn dates to make sure that I wouldn’t snore.

    Not that this lessens my enjoyment of the music. It’s just that I listen with my eyes closed to intensify the sense, and sometimes I drift off.

    If I could find an easy babysitter, I’d go all the time.

    (By the way, Raymond, your feed has stopped showing up in Bloglines. I don’t know if it’s a problem here or there)

  11. David says:

    Yeah, I was there Thursday evening (last week). I can’t express what a privilege it is to be in the presence of the greatest living musician. Unfortunately Shost First is a student scrapbook, nothing more. I don’t understand why people are so polite about it.

    I agree with the sense of the thread about the SSO. I’ve been fighting traffic and paying Masterpiece series prices since Benaroya opened, and I (and wife) have had enough. The orchestra and Schwarz are now a deathly dull combination; the only bright spot being the championing of contemporary American music. The automatic standing O’s, and the uncritical critics in both papers, drive me mad. Occasionally there’s redemption, such as Slava and last night’s Shost 8th, but this season has been particulary dreary and the game is no longer worth the candle.

    Personal Rostropovich memory: August 21 1968, "Prom" concert at the Royal Albert Hall filled as usual with young people, first international tour of the USSR State Symphony Orchestra, Svetlanov conducting. Yes, the day of the Prague invasion, and they played the Dvorak cello concerto. Newspaper reports were that Slava had tears running down his cheeks, but I was a few feet away from the orchestral cellists and they were in tears also. Slava followed up with the Sarabande from the Bach E minor cello suite, and defected soon after. My wife was at the same concert; we first met two days later (Brahms 4th).

Comments are closed.

*DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THIS CONTENT. If you are the owner and would like it removed, please contact me. The content herein is an archived reproduction of entries from Raymond Chen's "Old New Thing" Blog (most recent link is here). It may have slight formatting modifications for consistency and to improve readability.

WHY DID I DUPLICATE THIS CONTENT HERE? Let me first say this site has never had anything to sell and has never shown ads of any kind. I have nothing monetarily to gain by duplicating content here. Because I had made my own local copy of this content throughout the years, for ease of using tools like grep, I decided to put it online after I discovered some of the original content previously and publicly available, had disappeared approximately early to mid 2019. At the same time, I present the content in an easily accessible theme-agnostic way.

The information provided by Raymond's blog is, for all practical purposes, more authoritative on Windows Development than Microsoft's own MSDN documentation and should be considered supplemental reading to that documentation. The wealth of missing details provided by this blog that Microsoft could not or did not document about Windows over the years is vital enough, many would agree an online "backup" of these details is a necessary endeavor. Specifics include:

<-- Back to Old New Thing Archive Index