Saturday night I attended the St. Louis Symphony. This was the first ticket in my series of concerts but wasn’t the first concert in the season.
The conductor does an informational talk before the concert and I always like to attend those. However, Saturday night I was delayed because I had to buy gas on my way. To add to my delay, I also had to take a different route to the hall because Grand Avenue in front of the hall was closed for several blocks because there was a Dancing in the Street event taking place at the same time as the concert. I took a different highway and had to take an exit other than the one I thought I could take but everything worked out fine. I found a parking spot about two blocks from the hall.
As I reached Grand Avenue, my ear was caught by some music and a voice welcoming us to Dancing in the Street. I looked up and there, cattycornered across from the concert hall, was one of the featured performances. The group was from Kansas City. The building cattycornered from the concert hall is an old church which has been remodeled into a theatre. The square bell tower on the front was the focus of this performance.
On the roof of the bell tower stood a male violinist. In the glassed in section where the bells used to be was a female dancer. Hanging off the building, using the kind of straps that trapeze artists use, was a female dancer. The violinist played and the two female dancers did their thing. The one hanging on the building was harder to see because the spotlights didn’t really catch her in their glow. The one inside the bell tower was doing moves that I’d call modern dance.
I certainly never expected to get to see any of the Dancing in the Street event. In fact, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was although I was aware that some of the local dance companies were involved. Stumbling onto this performance was a nice introduction to the evening.
The concert opened with a piano concerto written especially for the guest soloist who happens to be the conductor’s wife. They are friends with the composer and their children often play together. The title of the piece was Stumble to Grace and it was, without a doubt, a strange piece of music. I had heard the conductor describe it during a radio interview and it’s supposed to depict a human’s growth patterns as they move through learning to walk to become a full-fledged human. I found it to be a strangely dissonent piece of music, particularly in the beginning. At times the pianist and orchestra were playing at different tempos. The second half of the concert was a Mahler symphony which was much more to my liking.