The year was 1950. My parents decided to spend a year with the entire family in Vienna, Austria. It was during that time that my father took me to my a first experience in listening to a live concert.
I still remember that day. the performance at 11 AM was sold out. The concert featured the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. both my dad and I were able to get in, but we sat separately, because we succeeded in getting single tickets. the concert included a performance of the “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky.
Now fast forward to yesterday, also a Sunday, but 65 years later. I was driving to San Francisco to attend a concert by the SF symphony. While I was driving it occurred to me: On the program was the very first symphonic piece I had heard so many years earlier: Yes, the Mussorgsky!
And a wonderful concert it was. first, a piece by Igor Stravinsky called Joy of Cards. This is a three-act ballet that the composer wrote about his favorite card game, Poker. Great fun! Then we got to hear an outstanding cellist, Gautier Capucon performing the amazing Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar, who is by far my favorite British composer.
While this work was made famous by British cellist Jacqueline DuPre, it is now performed by all the well-known cellists of our time. This is a work that is passionate and often somewhat sad.
Here is a video of the Schumann Cello concerto, performed by Gautier Capucon: