What an amazing treat — last night, as the result of the great generosity of one of our Chorale members, my roommate Barb and I had box seats at Meymandi Hall for a concert of the North Carolina Symphony.
Guest performer with the Symphony was pianist Leon Fleisher. Fleisher lost use of his right hand nearly forty years ago due to a neurological condition called focal dystonia. Recent development of new treatments has allowed him to recover the full use of his right hand, an amazing, even awe-inspiring event. He and the Symphony performed the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12 in A Major, K. 414. The piano was turned so that we could not see his hands — a treat I would have greatly enjoyed — but even being able to observe the rapt concentration in his countenance as he bent over the keyboard was inspiring.
The Fleisher performance was a pure gift. WCPE has been featuring a number of pieces from Fleisher’s recently-released “Two Hands” CD. Somehow, however, it had not registered with me that he was going to play with the Symphony this week-end. It was a duel gift to be able to attend one of Fleisher’s concert performances.
This week-end was important for Barb and me because Our Guys, the men’s section of the NC Master Chorale, were singing with the symphony’s performance of Liszt’s Faust Symphony. They have been working hard since the beginning of the new season, and since Barb, as Chorale Manager, knows all of them, and since I have made several wonderful friends among them, we really wanted to hear them perform.
There’s something powerfully virile about male voices, and “our guys” did not disappoint. As part of the Mephistophiles “portrait” of the third movement of the symphony, the men added depth and color to the symphony performance. We were so proud to see them sitting their in their tuxedos, singing vigorously what was really a difficult piece for them — the tenors reaching a high “C” during the performance. They sounded just as they looked: HOT!
Next week-end we sing with the Symphony for the Holiday Pops concert. After hearing our men singing last night, I’m left in awe once again at what a privilege I’m enjoying, singing with this wonderful group.