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Classical 101

What a Weekend!

I'm reeling from the past forty-eight hours, in a good way. It's been a blessing to enjoy so many aspects of the arts in Columbus. You can make all the logos you want, you can talk cows,  football and butter sculpture but nothing beats being there. Being HERE. The Columbus Symphony stepped up Friday and Saturday with Mahler's Symphony no. 6. It seems that musiclogoists go out of their way to damn this work with faint praise. Read up and you'll find the words "tragic" "devastating"  "sad" and "horror." Maybe I've mellowed (!) but I heard eighty minutes of ferocity and indescribable beauty (the andante). On Friday the symphony was performed three times, counting rehearsals, leaving the band a tad weary by 8 PM. Saturday night the relentless opening march blazed away, the Alma theme sang-it all worked. Brass and winds played famously (kudos to David Thomas, Betsy Sturdevant, Tom Battenberg and Gene Standley. Kudos to everyone). Jean-Marie Zeitouni surprised me by saying these were his first performances of this enigmatic work. Pre-concert talks were SRO (as usual!) and post-performance Q&As with Jean-Marie, Luis Biava, Tom Battenberg and Phil Shipley was also well attended. People wanted to stay late to talk about the performance and the music. It was a privilege to sit there and listen to their questions-and the wise and witty answers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygrmCh600gU&context=C38405b7ADOEgsToPDskJpgblM0KJ7ToFfMDZeNJbg Gotterdammerung was beamed live in HD from the Met at 12 noon Saturday-ending at six. I had a sandwich and changed my clothes in the car en-route to more Mahler at the CSO.  It was a fine performance of a daunting score. For me, and I suspect for many,  the big news is Jay Hunter Morris. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUeQn4TOyck Yes, he's buff, blonde, and gorgeous but the man can actually sing, really SING Siegfried. Where's be been? Phooey on the Met and several other companies who used him as an understudy and put on parched voice ninnies in his place. His broad Texas accent makes him the media baby of the moment, as does his joy at at last being "discovered." It's nice when a good guy wins. Back to MC duties with The New Albany Symphony on Saturday afternoon. Our own Boyce Lancaster gave voice to Copland's Lincoln Portrait. Who needs Gregory Peck? It's wonderful to hear how this community orchestra has come along over four years. There was a good house on a cold afternoon, and a lovely performance of Appalachian Spring. Good for conductor Luis Biava and NASO! The Rubinstein Kiss at CATCO-Phoenix is playing to full houses and has been extended through February. Go. I'll never forget Kai Poole and Kim Garrison Hopcraft in their final moments. Just go. Mind you, the above happened over three days. GO BUCKS!    

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.