Classically Trained: Final movement for this columnist

February 28, 2013|By Bradley Zint

In my two years and five months of writing this column, I've found that the best and worst time doing it happened on the same evening.

The Vienna Philharmonic — widely considered one of the best orchestras in the world, if not the best — was playing in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. On the stands was Mahler's Sixth Symphony, a long-winded but mighty work. The third movement alone is worth the price of admission.

Furthermore, it was Vienna's first concert in Costa Mesa in nearly a decade.

It was heaven hearing that fabled ensemble. I would've traveled far just to hear them play variations on "Happy Birthday." They were, and are, that good.


I wrote at the time that Vienna's distinctive sound reminded me of "the morning air after a night's rain, after the countless tiny droplets leave the place fresher than it was before. It's a renewed bloom from the everyday norms."

What wasn't heaven or any kind of renewed bloom was the pair of ladies sitting in front of me that evening. They fidgeted for an hour before leaving mid-concert from their expensive seats.

In effect, they left a stage offering the highest caliber of music in the world from an ensemble that, thanks to the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, bothered to stop in little ol' Costa Mesa, aka the "City of the Arts."

I muse about that evening because this is my last "Classically Trained" column. And, like a good symphony, it's taken me awhile to get to this point. Good composers take their time, and I will too on this last movement.

This column regularly ran most weeks in the Daily Pilot's "Life + Arts" section, and sometimes in its sister papers, the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot and the Huntington Beach Independent.

I've tried to write about the music scene of those areas, on things big and small, from the Vienna Philharmonic to a fundraiser for a young Newport Beach pianist who, while she didn't necessarily need the money, was helping her colleagues go on a music-making tour in Europe.

At one point, I interviewed or wrote about all the conductors of the Pacific Symphony — Carl St.Clair, Maxim Eshkenazy, Alejandro Gutiérrez and Richard Kaufman — the symphony's behind-the-scenes staff and Dean Corey, the retiring head of the Philharmonic Society. I sat down with and wrote about several of the symphony's musicians, as well.

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