Jan 23 2008

Castellon on the Mediterranean

Published by at 8:29 pm under PSO 2008 European Tour

Castellon

Castellon

The rain in Spain has so far avoided the Pittsburgh Symphony. An hour by plane from the chilly north to the sunny south and we’ve arrived in a city that almost no one in our tour group knows anything about. We flew this morning from Vittoria to Valencia and then another hour to Castellon where we are in two hotels immediately next to one another across the street from a bus station. On the way to the airport we saw the direction sign on the highway to the city of Burgos—the town from which Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos takes his name. This is his homeland. I understand his son is coming to Madrid to hear the concert there.

From 2:30pm to the 6:40 bus departure didn’t leave much time for exploration of the beach but it’s not far away. Along our entrance route were miles of orange groves and the sky completely blue at about 72 degrees.

Many in the group walked the two blocks to the Spanish equivalent of Macy’s El Corte Ingles. On the ground level a terrific supermarket with excellent pastry (I was tempted by the Sacher Torte but we are headed to Vienna later). I did buy but one chocolate covered cookie and some Danone yoghurt for tomorrow morning. Also a brief visit to the CD Department where I picked up several cd’s of Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos conducting the Spanish zarzuela or light opera. When I get back you’ll hear something from Luisa Fernanda with Teresa Bergaza or La Gran Via by Chueca or how about Aluna de Dios. I also acquired a two cd set of Los Numeros Unos from the Spanish radio and tv. I’ve really enjoyed listening to Radio Classica, the national network of classical music.

Auditori Palau de Congressos De Castello

Auditori Palau de Congressos De Castello

The Castellon concert is in a six year old Auditori Palau de Congressos De Castello.

It’s vast modern complex with long low white concrete in a new part of town. Across the street are massive condos and apartments like you see in Miami or along the pacific Coast. The auditorium has very disorienting angles and blond wood with black seats.

Van Morrison will be here in a few days and in a few weeks the same Australian Pink Floyd Show that is headed for the Benedum (and was featured in a pledge night on QED.) The Valencia Orchestra plays here as does the Banda Municipal de Castellon. There’s a Music Conservatory here with a concert title mouthful—Quinteto de Viento Del Conservatorio de Musica ‘Salvador Seguy de Castellon and then you can take in the Cottontail Trio in the Jazz Castellon Series or Daniele Gatti and the Royal Philharmonic.

lobby

lobby

The lobby features wide stone steps like the Scaife Gallery in Pittsurgh but with a slight tilt making the ascent and descent a little treacherous. The lobby in Castellon features a wonderful art exhibit by an artist from Valencia– Mariano Poyatos featuring totem pole like structures and bee hive shaped objects as well as mysterious shapes in fish tanks and odd stone assemblages in a circle.

The concert hall in Castellon is completely different than last night in Vittoria but similar to Pamplona and its modern hall. Spain is boosting its spending on culture. Several members of the Orchestra including Co Principal Flute Damian Bursill Hall and Co Principal Bassoon David Sogg took a side trip before the tour began to see the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao with raves for the amazing billowing Frank Gehry building. Gehry has a building in Cleveland and he is the architect for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. His Guggenheim in Bilbao put the city on the map and has generated untold vitality for Bilbao.

Tim Adams

Tim Adams

Three nights in a row we’ve had the fabulous close to the concert with two Spanish encores. Tonight there was a wonderful groan from the man sitting next to me—he involuntarily groaned with pleasure from the Brahms Symphony No. 1. The audience went nuts for the Granados and were on their feet at the end of the Gimenez—in fact they started roaring before the Gimenez was over. Tympanist Tim Adams told me in the lobby of the hotel tonight—“They were jammin!” Tim starts the Brahms with his powerful tymps. Big sound in the new hall in Castellon but the string sound wasn’t quite as rounded as I’d like. Lots of right angles. Pamplona and Castellon both have little lights in each step as you head up to your seat. It gives a high tech look. The Castellon hall is surrounded by parking and recently planted trees in concrete in front. Stylish crowd many at the long bar in the lobby during intermission.. All in all it was a great evening. On to Barcelona with three hours of bus travel in the morning. About six hours from now!

Sullivan

Sullivan

Richard Page

Richard Page