Mind on Prokofiev

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In the course of a morning Principal Trumpet Karin Bliznik was in the Powell Hall basement warming up, then on the stage, then the Green Room with her mind on Prokofiev. Here is what she shared for the Symphony blog.

See. Hear.

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See and hear Cally Banham talk about The Swan of Tuonela. Hear me talk about the full weekend program. Click.

Getting Warmer

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Where do brass players warm up before rehearsal? Many go deep into the underground of Powell Hall, into the boiler room. I found trombone players Tim Myers and Gerry Pagano, and trumpet players Karin Bliznik and Mike Walk down there Wednesday morning before Prokofiev 5 rehearsal.

Mike Walk warms up in the Powell Hall boiler room.

Mike Walk warms up in the Powell Hall boiler room.

Hot Picks – Prokofiev 5

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Every summer before the musicians scatter to music festivals around the world, I ask for their season-to-come hot picks. One of those comes up this week: English horn player Cally Banham solos in Sibelius’ The Swan of Tuonela, John Adams’ My Father Knew Charles Ives, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. It’s also a David Robertson week, which is always a hot pick.

Sarah Hogan Kaiser

Sarah Hogan Kaiser

Here’s what double bassist Sarah Hogan Kaiser said about Prokofiev 5: “I love the long sweeping melodies, and Prokofiev does a great job of inserting the unexpected here and there—something unusual and delightful that perks up the ear. This is especially true of the fourth movement—the melodies are spritely and pointed, very much giocoso.”

Yawr!

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Musicians reveal their inner pirate in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, with is also the opening date for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Friday, September 19. The movie is shown on the big screen at Powell Hall while the musicians perform the score live.

Pirate Chorus

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The St. Louis Symphony Chorus gave new titles to those at the top of the roster for Pirates of the Caribbean: Amy Kaiser, Captain (Director); Leon Burke III, First Mate (Assistant Director); Gail Hintz, Boatswain (Accompanist); Susan Patterson, Quartermaster (Manager).

 

Captain Kaiser leads the crew.

Captain Kaiser leads the crew.


Big Screen

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The big screen is up in Powell Hall for Pirates of the Caribbean. A historical note: big screens are what people always watched motion pictures on before they watched them on their phones or tablets. The big-screen experience is amazing. If you haven’t tried it in a while, this is a great opportunity. Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley: two of the prettiest people on the planet HUGE on the big screen.

Imagine Johnny and Keira BIG

Imagine Johnny and Keira BIG

Plus, for films at Powell Hall you get the St. Louis Symphony playing the score live, which sounds so much better than on your phone.

Timpani Are Up to No Good

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There are some astonishing timpani parts to Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable.” The final movement includes a timpani duel, kinda like a classic rock guitar duel. You gotta hear and see it live, with Shannon Wood and Tom Stubbs performing Friday and Saturday.

I caught Shannon during some quieter moments in the symphony. As the baseball great Branch Rickey used to say, you can learn a lot about baseball by just watching one position player during a game. You can learn a lot about how the timpani fits in with the orchestra by watching Shannon Wood.

Sports Analogy for the Week

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As submitted by a member of the brass: “Being in this orchestra right now feels like you’re on a team that just made a big trade with great new players and you’re running on all cylinders.” Or some sort of mixed metaphor like that. Anyway, the orchestra sounds amazing.

Brahms at the Ready

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The orchestra rehearsed Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable,” on Wednesday afternoon. Next up: Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1, with Yefim Bronfman, Thursday morning. David Robertson had the score at the ready in his office.

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