Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Brahms and magic


Saturday evening + the Michigan Theater + the Ann Arbor Symphony = magic.  Guaranteed.  And even though I knew that going in I was still blown away from the start of this concert until the last thundering applause faded after the encore.

I’m no classical music scholar, I never took a theory class, didn’t play beyond high school until I reconnected through the community band, but I know when I’ve experienced something extraordinary.  That happens every time I hear the Ann Arbor Symphony, but this weekend was beyond any expectations I could have had.

Saturday night it was all about Brahms, starting with Academic Festival composed by Brahms in response to being nominated for an honorary doctorate degree.  The piece includes several student drinking songs, woven through the music.  Who knew that composers back in the mid 1800’s had a sense of humor?

The second piece was The Black Swan:  Intermezzo in A Major.  What a stunningly beautiful piece of music.  Transcripted for orchestra by Bright Sheng, a University of Michigan professor,  the piece is based on Brahms’ composition for piano.  It’s so beautiful you just have to listen to at least a little of it.  Lush, contemplative, you can’t help but let the cares of the week slide off your shoulders as you let the music wash over you.

The last piece before intermission was Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A Minor, played by two amazing young musicians, Itamar Zorman on violin and David Requiro on cello.  They played seamlessly, often one began the phrase and the other completed it, almost as if there was a single instrument. Such talent.  They so obviously loved doing this piece, and we loved hearing it.  Mr. Requiro said it was an ‘indulgent’ thing to play because the first movement begins after only a few measures with a beautiful cello solo.  My favorite movement, though, was the third.  Listen to a little bit of it; how playful it is. I had a stupid grin on my face through the whole thing.

And as wonderful as all that was, after intermission I fell in love with Symphony No. 1 in C Minor.  Though they say Brahms was a bit intimidated by Beethoven you can hear him pay homage to the other composer in this piece.  It’s beautiful, from the suspenseful beginning to the triumphant conclusion.  And the Ann Arbor Symphony pulled every bit of beauty out of the music.  They left nothing in reserve, put it all out there on the concert stage.  The audience didn’t even wait for the last note to drift away, the applause started immediately and continued until we convinced them to play us one last encore.

Ann Arbor, you have a gem in your symphony.  Every concert is astounding and leaves us shaking our heads in amazement.  Even if you don’t think you like or understand this kind of music take a moment and listen to a little bit through the links above.  And if that intrigues you go to one concert of your symphony next season, try a little taste, open yourself up to the possibilities.  You’ll have an experience you won’t forget.  It’s so much more wonderful live and your symphony is..well…there’s no other word…just magical.  Attend a concert next fall, let the music take you away, overwhelm you, transform your soul if only for one evening.  Go listen to the Ann Arbor Symphony and experience the magic yourself.

You won’t regret it – I promise.


Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

19 thoughts on “Brahms and magic

  1. You’ve reminded me that there hasn’t been much music in my life lately. Summers usually involve going to listen to the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom where we sit on the lawn, have a picnic, and let the music take us away. Because of the move, there was none of that last year. I’ll have to look into what they have around here, in this new-to-me place. Now I’m off to listen to some of the music you linked to. Thank you. 🙂


  2. Bravo. Very nice way to start a rainy Morno. I haven’t been to the Chicago Symphony in ages, but I always enjoy it. I would imagine playing an instruments and performing adds to the experience.


    • I’m sure being someone that plays an instrument gives a person a bit of a different listening ear and experience, but I think anyone can appreciate how the music paints pictures inside you, or takes you away, or just distracts you for a couple hours.


  3. We actually went to a concert at ASU last week – which I totally forgot to blog about. We went to see Street Corner Symphony – an archapello group.


  4. Sounds like a magical night for both the audience and the musicians!


  5. Ah, you’ve transported me, Dawn. Thanks for the beautiful links — this must’ve been a wonderful concert!


  6. When we lived in Miami, we used to go to student performances all the time at the university. Haven’t lived near a good venue for that since. You seriously have me contemplating a trip downstate in the fall.


  7. Many thanks for the links, Dawn, and I will surely listen — but not just now, as I am playing a CD of “Beethoven for Book Lovers”! Sound silly? It’s actually quite nice.


  8. One of the things I miss most about my beloved Detroit is the DSO. We used to go every Thursday, all season long. It was the highlight of the week.


    • Every Thursday? WOW! That’s wonderful! I have to say I’ve never gone to the DSO, though I’ve heard ads for some concerts I’d love to attend.


  9. P.S. My friend Carol the Organist/Choir Director used to urge me to listen to Brahms, and I never really did. I suppose I must now. I’ll tell her you finally pushed me over the edge. She’ll like that.


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