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Masters of the house

Beethoven Last night at Artpark -- a great concert, by the way -- I heard a woman nearby regretting that more people were not there.

"Such a sparse crowd," she said.

I actually thought we had a good-sized crowd, especially considering there are people on the lawn you do not see from the hall. The attendance was in line with other Buffalo Philharmonic concerts I have enjoyed at Artpark. Artpark's main auditorium is a big hall to fill.

Also, while the concert was relatively inexpensive, it was not free.

There is so much free music, every night of the week. There are so many options. Just down the block, at the corner of Fourth and Center Street in Lewiston, they had a free concert going on at the gazebo, with a crowd of people sitting on lawn chairs.

That is a lot of competition! Sometimes it makes me wonder how much is too much. But that is a complicated topic for another day.

Here is a bit of good news from last night: I got a kick out of how diverse the crowd was.

In front of me was a massive, muscled, tattooed biker in a Harley-Davidson shirt, grooving to the Mendelssohn. I mean, you could tell he was enjoying it. He was there with a date -- he had his arm around her -- but he was definitely in the moment.

In the front row was a hippie with his long hair pulled back in a ponytail, avidly watching the pianist, Robert Thies. Totally absorbed in the Mozart D Minor Concerto.

Then there was the friend I was with. She does not know beans about, ahem, classical music. But in the middle of the first excerpt from Mendelssohn's enchanting music for "A Midsummer Night's Dream," she was overcome.

"I love this song!" she whispered.

Music is music!

It will be fun to see who turns out tonight for "Beethoven Rocks the Harbor," the BPO's free concert on the waterfront. You get to hear the Allegretto from the Seventh Symphony! That is the piece you hear at the climax of "The King's Speech" when Colin Firth is giving his speech. And the Scherzo from the Ninth Symphony. And the entire Fifth Symphony.

Ha, ha!! I have to confess to something funny.

The first time I read about this concert, I read the notice fast and I thought at first they were going to play the whole Seventh Symphony, and the whole Ninth Symphony, and the whole Fifth Symphony.

Wow, I thought. This is great!! This is like those Mozart marathons we used to have at Artpark! Or those massive concerts they would have in Beethoven's day, when they would play four hours of music. I can't wait! I thought. This is too good to be true!!

Well, it was too good to be true!

But even a couple hours of Beethoven will do the heart good. It starts at 7 p.m.

I predict a big crowd.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman



Movies | Music
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