In a break from the usual where classical music performers don't speak a word, he talked briefly about each Schumann before he played them. He was careful to explain that the humor in the Humoreske was not about being funny but about a wide range of moods.
The last Beethoven sonata, called the Waldstein, is quite an incredible piece - it seemed to me that the piece and the way he played it, particularly in the last movement sounded and felt like there was a whole symphony orchestra playing a symphony. Kudos to Ludvig van and to Mr Ax for this.
One sad observation is that there are very few young people in the audience - where in this case young means under 50! What will be the future of live classical concerts?
During the intermission where there was no half-time show, noone sung God Bless America and we didn't sing Take me out to the concert, a women in a nearby seat asked me if we were related (a common question about whether we are brothers). I replied "yes, by marriage, we are married to each other". She replied with a big smile "Oh, my friend thought it was blood - we made a bet and I won an ice cream cone".
At the beginning of the concert, the Celebrity Series President and Executive Director who often makes a brief speech which includes a warning to turn off cell phones made a longer speech about fund raising. They need more money and had just gotten a matching grant.
This made me think about all the disgusting opportunities they could have for sponsorship as they do in sports these days.
- changing display ads on the side of the piano selected for appropriateness to the music - much more lucrative that the current practice where it merely says Steinway or the piano manufacturor
- this piece in the key of e is sponsored by eBay
- featured in the orchestra is the Delta Airlines triangle
- high pitched crescendos by Tweeter
- Emanuel Ax is sponsored by Craftsman Tools
- glass harmonica by Giant Glass