Many folks have raised an eyebrow when I tell them I have chosen the 2nd Symphony of the great Bobby Schumann to end my run at the Oregon East Symphony.
“What,” they say, “no Mahler 9, no Beethoven 9, no Bruckner 9?”
No, no 9ths!
Here are Five Easy Reasons why I’m going out with a bang with Bobby.
1- It is as perfect a symphony as ever written, and as good a candidate for the best symphony ever written as you are going to find.
2- I’ve never done a Schumann symphony in Pendleton, and that cannot be allowed to stand.
3- I ended my tenure with the Grande Ronde Symphony with Schumann 4, so I can make it my policy now to terminate all music directorships in Eastern Oregon with a Schumann Symphony.
4- The piece explores profound themes of hope, redemption and love that I think are somehow relevant to my own life experience during this long chapter of the book of being Ken.
5- It rocks. It will kick you apart. It stands 11 feet tall, weighs 600 pounds, eats whole rhinos for breakfast, smells like roses, drives a thousand miles an hour up hill, pays your taxes for you, changes babies, walks dogs, lifts hearts, destroys prejudice and restores promise.
Here is an earlier blog post that explores just one aspect of this amazing piece.
I suppose my biggest concern is that this is our first Schumann symphony together. I can’t tell you how far we’ve come at the SMP by working through so much of his music. The learning curve is huge, even though everything you need to know is there in the music. Schumann’s music doesn’t need help, it needs rescuing from those who would help it. People have read so much crap about him, his mental stability, his orchestration and his conducting that they either ignore his markings, which seem to be all perfectly logical and incredibly effective in this piece, or they start changing things without first making an honest effort to realize his intentions. If I can get the band to take his markings just as seriously as they take Mahler’s, I think we’ll have a fine show on our hands.