7 Minute Miles

Joshua Bell at the Ordway

Posted Saturday, May 26th, 2007 06:42 pm GMT -6 in Concerts, Music

Last night my wife and I attended the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performance at the Ordway Center in downtown St. Paul. The concert featured violinist Joshua Bell, a favorite of ours. We were a little confused at first by the program, which was the last of their “Jazzed-Up” offerings for the season. After the intermission, you could choose between returning to the hall to hear Beethoven’s Trio in C Minor for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 9 No. 3 or stay in the lobby and listen to Chris Brown and Friends play Gershwin tunes from Porgy and Bess.

We thought Mr. Bell was coming back after intermission, so we couldn’t see how anyone would stay in the lobby. I was reading from the day’s earlier concert, however, so he was done after the first two pieces. Both were sensational:

  • Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 in D, K.504, “Prague”
  • Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26

The second piece was my favorite. Mr. Bell was front and center, standing for all three movements. A teenage girl and her mother were sitting next to me and I was fascinated to watch the young girl follow along with the sheet music. I overheard another woman ask them if she played and she said it was a piece she has been practicing, but that it’s so hard to play. She was truly excited to hear it played by a virtuoso on a priceless instrument. That excitement was contagious.

After we figured out the Jazzed-Up options, we went into the lobby and listened to Chris Brown’s band. Prudence Johnson was the singer and we had fun listening while sampling some cheesecake. The lobby was full and my wife was tired of standing, so we decided to leave early.

When we went down the staircase, the lower level only had a dozen or so people standing around. I noticed someone sitting at a table by himself and it was Joshua Bell! The people standing were all in line to buy his CD and he was waiting to sign them after purchase. My wife bought his latest CD (again) and had it signed. I got a coveted “To DK” on my ticket (see above). A very exciting end to a fun evening…

Originally published by DK on May 26, 2007 at 6:42 pm

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