Last weekend for our anniversary my wife and I took a trip to Dallas and visited the Dallas Symphony
at the Meyerson Symphony Center
. The program consisted of Variations on "America" by Charles Ives, Old American Songs by Copland, and Symphony no. 9 by Dvorak. The Meyerson is ranked among the top venues in the country, and having now visited there, I can see why -- the acoustics are phenomenal, and the entire place is definitely over the top. I was already somewhat familiar with the Meyerson before visiting there because I own a recording made on the Lay Family Concert Organ built by C.B. Fisk, one of America's greatest concert pipe organs, and have listened to several recordings made there. For someone in Austin who likes classical music, it's definitely worth the drive.
Variations on "America" was familiar to me because it was written for the organ by Charles Ives
when he was around 17 and made quite famous by Virgil Fox
; at the time Ives composed the piece he had already established himself as a skilled organist but is today better known as a composer. It was transcribed to the orchestra by William Schuman
. Anybody who can listen to this piece without cracking up has something seriously wrong with them.
The Copland songs I was not familiar with. Many of them clearly have roots in old American folk tunes; others were written for children and are quite humorous. According to the program there are several good recordings of the Copland songs for those interested in checking them out.
The "New World" Symphony by Dvorak (his ninth) is probably Dvorak's
most famous work, and is recognizable by just about anyone. The melodic parts were extremely well played with a lot of emotion, and the first and final movements were played with a tremendous amount of energy. Overall I thought the interpretation of this very humbling piece of music was exquisite, despite a few minor defects in the reproduction such as a few sections being off-tempo during several of the more difficult parts. The ninth symphony is a very emotional work, and you could definitely tell sitting in the audience that every member of the orchestra truly enjoyed bringing it to life.
Overall the trip was very worthwhile and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We'll definitely be back to see the symphony in Dallas again some day soon.