A couple weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending a concert by the China Philharmonic Orchestra at the Valley Performing Arts Center (see my previous post). Admittedly, some of my own ideas and beliefs of Chinese culture prepared me for a skillfully executed, but superficial, unemotional show. Fortunately for me, and I'm sure for the rest of the audience, the CPO's performance that evening was deeply moving and full of emotion.
Lead by Conductor Long Yu, and in addition to performing a Berlioz piece, the orchestra featured guest violinist Renaud Capucon on Bruch's Concerto No. 1 in G Minor for Violin and Orchestra in the first half of the concert. And energy there was! I was captivated from the first chord. On the last note of the first half of the concert, the audience arose to its feet in applause, and I found myself clapping along enthusiastically.
The second half of the evening featured pieces by Borodin, Puccini, and the classic Bolero by Maurice Ravel. Again, the orchestra did not disappoint, and again, the audience stood for an ovation to thank the musicians for their musical gift that night.
One of my favorite things about going to the symphony is watching the conductor interpret the music and hearing it translated by the musicians before him. Yu's conducting was graceful, masterful, and exciting. His orchestra's performance was the same. I was reminded how universal the language of music really is. Whatever our political or cultural differences, music is truly a bridge through which we can understand each other.