Beethoven Festival at Disney Hall

Gordon and I went to hear Beethoven’s 7th and 8th symphonies and the Egmont Overture performed by the Simon Bolivar Symphony at Disney Hall last night. We got to the Hall early because I had to pick up my “free” (reward for donation) tote bag with the Immortal Beethoven Festival logo. We also took time to get our “free” dessert–a rather uninspired chocolate chip cookie. I probably would never buy one but it was free, by God, so I ate it. Then we went upstairs. We couldn’t get our regular seats, the Beethoven Festival is a hot ticket and the place was sold out, but there’s really not a bad seat in the house so I wasn’t disappointed. The people around us had attended the afternoon concert of Beethoven’s 5th and 6th so they had lots to talk about. I don’t think my butt would survive that but they enjoyed it. One interesting note; they were all San Francisco transplants. They had a hard time saying anything nice about the Hall or the LA Phil but they could be rapturous about the Simon Bolivar group. I wonder why they moved down here when they seem to hate it so much. It’s not like anyone asked them. Anyway, the 7th was lots of fun. I would have appreciated more french horn in some spots but it was a nice interpretation. I’ve never been a fan of the 8th. I always thought Beethoven didn’t know how to end it; it seems to stop a few times before just giving up. But the Egmont was a party. I’m always amazed that Dudamel doesn’t need a score for any of the war horses. He can keep a lot in his head. He seemed pleased by the reception his homeland orchestra got. So did the orchestra. If you want to make people happy, play Beethoven. I know new composers need to be encouraged; I’ve listened to and tried to understand new music that uses brake drums and water bowls as instruments. But if you want to get butts in the seats and money in the till, play Beethoven. I guess that’s why they’re doing the Festival. We’re going to hear the 9th on Tuesday with the LA Phil, the SBs, and the LA Master Chorale. There’ll probably be more people on stage than in the audience but I’m looking forward to it. Should raise the rafters. Then we hear the 1st and 2nd on Thursday. I suppose we should have signed up for them all but that’s a lot of Beethoven. If they ever do it again I’ll fill in the holes.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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