by James Hogan
Friday night brought the return of Christof Perick to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s marquee, the Fifth Symphony.
A full disclosure is in order: I’m not crazy about the Fifth. Yes, there’s the whole Romantic interpretation of Beethoven’s growing deafness lurking in his mind, producing the image of Fate knocking on the door–the four note infamy that opens the symphony’s first movement.
Ba Ba Ba BOM! We’ve heard it hundreds, maybe thousands of times. These are the four notes that shot round the world, the notes kids like to pick out on their grandmother’s piano for humor, the notes that conjure the memory of an angry Beethoven bust your music teacher kept on her desk, the one that stared out at you throughout elementary school with a peculiar German creepiness. Whistle these notes, and even your crazy brother-in-law, who cannot carry a tune in a bucket but knows the lyrics to every Nazareth song cries out, “THAT’s classical music!”
And, by God, it brings the people to the house. Friday’s Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performance was packed, with nary an empty seat, and that was incredibly good. It was heartening to see Belk Theater swelling with people.
I spent most of last week in Washington, D.C., and the topic du jour was–you guessed it–the economy. It’s on everyone’s minds, and everyone wants to talk about it. Regrettably, arts organizations are often most vulnerable to great economic downturns, and regional symphonies across the nation are feeling the pinch, with some already canceling seasons and cutting musicians’ salaries. And let’s not forget the plight some classical radio stations find themselves in.
It’s silly and alarmist to think that classical music stations and performances will disappear completely. That’s rubbish. But it’s realistic to understand that many of the weaker organizations playing today may not be playing this time next year.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a fan of classical music. Let’s make sure that you and I put our money (what’s left of it) where our tastes are. Yes, this is a cheap way of asking your support for WDAV’s upcoming spring fund drive. But it’s also a plea for you to keep buying CSO tickets, too. And to continue supporting the myriad arts organizations in our community who need us most right now.
And if it’s a rallying cry you need, consider this one– Ba Ba Ba BOM!