Aug 30 2017

Pittsburgh Returns to Salzburg

Published by at 7:56 am under PSO 2017 European Tour

Michael Cooper in a front page article in the New York Times said Salzburg is the classical music summit, the Davos of the music world. Pittsburgh presented the last of this summer’s programs on Monday August 29 one day after the Berlin Philharmonic said their farewell to Simon Rattle as Music Director. The audience members wore long gowns, often black with gold adornments. Men had bow ties and the Austrian loden jackets with a low collar. Some lovely dirndls were showcased by the ¬†ladies. Schlumberger and Roederer champagne was served outside and in. I stopped at a red carpeted refreshment stand operated by Nestle for a Wurstel. This is a challenge for a vegetarian but the Senf mustard and finely shredded horseradish with side roll hit the spot.

The snack was 9.50 Euros. A red carpet for a hot dog stand!

The snack was 9.50 Euros. A red carpet for a hot dog stand!

The back stage was huge with stage machinery and opera set materials in storage.

The back stage was huge with stage machinery and opera set materials in storage.

It was very hot in the hall and completely filled. Horse drawn carriages float by with tourists. Someone stops by to remove residue as this is the most elegant and expensive festival  in the world.

There is an odd industrial quality to the backstage area which is vast. The orchestra had 30 minutes to try out the sound. The castle fortress that Mozart knew looms behind the festival.

The backstage area where you might get lost and never return

The backstage area where you might get lost and never return

Principal English Horn Harold Smoliar with his Terrific Towel onstage at Salzburg

Principal English Horn Harold Smoliar with his Terrific Towel onstage at Salzburg

The Festung Hohensalzburg was the last view as the players boarded the bus to head back to the hotel about 2 miles away near the train station. There were two encores, the Panorama from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty and the Death of Tybalt from Prokofiev’s Sleeping Beauty after the Tchaikovsky Sixth Symphony with its whisper quiet ending. Manfred Honeck holds his hand in the air for a least a minute at the end. Not a rustle was heard until a very tentative bit of applause and then roars for the soloists and sections as each took a bow. There had been some cell phone sound at the very beginning which caused Honeck to turn to the audience and smile before beginning.

The reaction to the first half of the concert was polite but even the extraordinary sophistication of Salzburg didn’t mask puzzlement about the three pieces by Witold Lutoslawski that Anne Sophie Mutter played on the first half. She wore another stunning gown in emerald. Her playing was amazing in this piece she helped bring to life and clearly believes in.

Outside the Grossesfestspielhaus.

Outside the Grossesfestspielhaus.

Large posters for the final concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony with violinist Anne Sophie Mutter

Large posters for the final concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony with violinist Anne Sophie Mutter

Anne Sophie takes a bow as seen from the upper balcony!

Anne Sophie takes a bow as seen from the upper balcony!

The acoustician for the Salzburg large festival hall aslo did some work for Heinz Hall. We don't see his acoustical panels any more in Pittsburgh but they are still on the side walls in Salzburg.

The acoustician for the Salzburg large festival hall aslo did some work for Heinz Hall. We don't see his acoustical panels any more in Pittsburgh but they are still on the side walls in Salzburg.