Sarynna and I went to the tune-up concert for the Nashville Symphony in their new concert hall last Thursday night.
Really a good night to see the symphony in general and fun to see the new building. They called it a tune-up "rehearsal", but it was a lot like a concert. Honestly, if the conductor doesn't stop halfway through every song and ask for a little less trombone, I can't recognize that as rehearsing. (Sidebar: True story. I showed up to a USC symphony rehearsal late one afternoon and was able to slip into my seat unnoticed. I barely had time to get my instrument together when I hear, "Trombone. It's too much." Hadn't played a note.)
But, then again, it wasn't a regular concert either. They only did one or two movements of most of the selections, and there were a couple of acoustics guys walking around and listening in various places. They even did a little test with a special twelve-sided speaker that put out this UFO sounding test tone that scanned really fast from low frequency to high. The idea was to test the response of the hall with people actually sitting in it. Though that appealed to my nerdy side, I had to wonder how much difference it really made to have people in the chairs. The chairs themselves are pretty soft and peopley already, I would think (for acoustic purposes). To top off the dorky part of the night, there was this guy sitting behind us:
This probably cost $10,000
You see it has to be shaped just like a person with super especially sensitive microphones buried in the little plastic ears so they really find out what it sounds like to a person. Right. Not sure I quite see the point. But from the dummy's point of view, it's a great gig. He told me he's got a cousin working for MythBusters who has to stand in a make-believe shower talking on a fake cellphone getting his face burned off by artificial lightning 40 hours a week. "Who's the dummy now?" That's what he says to his cousin.
To wrap up, the concert was fun. They did that Debussy afternoon prelude thing, a movement from Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis, a couple movements from the Firebird Suite, and the fifth movement of Mahler's 2nd Symphony. I have always liked the Hindemith and the Firebird, and the Mahler piece at the end was really spectacular with the chorus and symphony together. They also did Dvorak's Water Goblin which I had never heard before but was very enjoyable.