Tonight we were gifted with a fine and varied concert by television from TPT Channel 2. The concert occurred, as usual, on channel 243. Yes, I know, it’s a different channel in different parts of Minnesota. The music was broadcast, as usual, on MPR.
The program began with a fine String Quartet by Jamaican composer, Eleanore Alberga, a lovely piece featuring plucked strings, atonal passages, and strong dramatic passages. Sara Hicks was host of the program and provided her usual succinct commentary and interviews.
The second piece featured the new principal harpist, Margarite Williams on her impressive double action pedal harp. Ravel’s Quartet performed this evening with the harpist and six fine players in a semi-circle around her. Themes ranged from up tempo to moody, dark, and light. Overall it evoked in this viewer the memory of an early morning along the wooded shore of the Adriatic. There was a little too much camera work to try to isolate the fingering, but that was minor.
An enlarged stage allowed for the presentation of the full orchestra, clad in black masks and dress, with adequate separation, conducted by William Eddins. They offered a full-bore presentation of Beethoven’s First symphony, familiar, well-driven and a fine closing to a lovely evening.
As a bonus, viewers learned that scientists at the University of Minnesota are working with members of the orchestra to t race and record aerosols from the various instruments in order to advise the orchestra about distancing and air exchanges. All in all an excellent program.