If you live in the Houston area, and haven’t heard the Houston Symphony, consider it now. Their playing of Elgar’s Enigma Variations last night shouted, “World Class,” and besides that it is a classy group. You won’t hear better anywhere in the world, and nothing beats actually feeling the music both inside your soul and in the reverberations from the bass that you can feel in the seat of your pants and your feet. Then there was spectacular and beautiful Hillary Hahn who opened the concert with a Prokofiev violin concerto that used unimaginable percussion cued in to the second. Of note was the frame of huge hanging chimes that required the musician to sit atop a ladder-like structure to strike the pipes. A live orchestra is a visual treat, too, and, after a while, you choose your favorite players to watch.
I started my close up player-watch last summer when I went to Herman Park to pick up free tickets to Miller Outdoor Theater orchestra concerts there, and I discovered that the orchestra rehearses about that same time the morning before the evening concert. Eventually, I went early and got to hear the music many times.
Music has many powers: it’s good for your body, it’s good for your soul, and besides, it makes a good date. Mine loves taking me there.