Saturday, October 3, 2009

Apollo's Fire: Blugh.

Ok, so I'll admit that Baroque isn't your typical classical and I know that instrument tuning for baroque music isn't necessarily A=440 But...

Two of the recurring thoughts I had during the performance were "Hmm, if my violin sounds out of tune I can say I'm playing Baroque" and "Oh, my God, how freaking long is this going to go on?".

Perhaps it's because my mind was in other places (I had been stood up on a 'date' for the performance), and perhaps it's because church pews aren't really the most conducive environment for relaxing concert enjoyment, and definitely in part due to the relatively lousy acoustics of the venue but to say that I didn't enjoy the concert is a massive understatement. Which is odd, as I generally like both Vavalidi and Bach.

Sure there were high notes, but there wasn't even one entire movement that I felt salvaged the evening. Somehow, they managed to make a program that was nearly exactly two hours feel like a six hour ordeal.

I had similar feelings the last time I tried Apollo's fire -- about 3 years ago -- but thought that as my musical taste and appreciation for classical has developed the 2nd time around would be more fruitful. Sadly, that was not the case. I have one ticket for an upcoming concert (see aforementioned stood up date) and I have a very strong suspicion that that will be the last time I do Apollo's Fire.

Contributing, I think, is the overwhelming impression Apollo's Fire in general, and the artistic director in particular, gives of taking themselves far too seriously. Or maybe I lack the proper reverence and appreciation for the genius I have the good fortune to share a room with. In either event it certainly doesn't contribute to the experience, and in my case is a major detraction to borderline comical. I don't even think the Cleveland Orchestra takes themselves as seriously... and that is an organization that I would respect if they did so.

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