Steve Smith has a delightful review of Esa-Pekka Salonen's final "Hungarian Echoes" program at the New York Philharmonic. Finding a new way to write about a subscription orchestra concert is a substantial challenge, and Steve has met it. His framing device reminds me of a review that I once wrote for the Times and that didn't run because of lack of space. (It was "killed," in the parlance of the biz.) No great loss, but I was somewhat proud of the opening:
After an evening of Futurist piano music at the Kaye Playhouse on Tuesday night, two departing concertgoers were overheard trying to critique the concert in halting phrases. "There was no . . . ," one said. "Yes, it was not . . . ," her companion replied. They walked off in melancholy silence. The problem, to bring the unhappy truth out in the open, was that there wasn't very much music.
The greatest audience comment ever recorded is, I think, a remark overheard at a performance of Ernst Krenek's Second Piano Concerto at the Boston Symphony in 1938. A Boston matriarch responded to Krenek's twelve-tone discourse by saying, "Conditions in Europe must be dreadful."