I have been to a concert held in Kawasaki city south of Tokyo last night. It was the 95th of the university orchestra I used to play as a cellist in my med school days. I might say I have spent, literally, all my young days in that orchestra. Candidly, I havent been to any concert of the orchestra since I quit there. The main reason why I hadn't been there was that I was kept too busy at work. In addition, I might look down its performace since it was just an amateur orchestra. This prejudice was overthrown completely last night.
A few days ago, I have arranged the post cards and letters I received from friends in the orchestra 3 or 4 decades ago. Reading them back, I felt I would listen to the orchestra again. I had a vague hope that I might meet old friends of mine at the concert hall as well, that ,of course, turned out not up to my expectation at the hall later.
The concert hall named Kawasaki Muza was not near to my town at all. It took me 2.5 hours to go there door to door. Again, I was a bit perplexed at the crowds of the people and the unknown style of cafe etc. I had an early supper at a cafe in the same building and hurried to the hall on the 4th floor. It was a gorgeous hall with 5 stories for the audience seats. The orchestra was surrounded by the audience seats all around. There was a formal pipe organ equipped at the back of the stage. The seats on the back stage were not used for this concert.
This orchestra had been a joint of two universities, Ochanomizu Women's University and Tokyo Medical and Dental University. It was surprising that the members of the latter, my mother school, had decreased greatly in number. Seemingly about 20 or 30% of the total at present. Instead, the major part of the members were composed of the students from the former university as well as the other universities. It is not an important issue. But it used to be led by the students of our university when I was a member. I felt a bit sorry to know there was such a change in membership.
It was conducted by a person whom I had known. He has become a vice president of a music university. Oh, such a topic is not important...
As a conclusion, I was very happy to have listened to this concert. It deserved travelling that long way to the concert.
The program was;
Wagner Prelude of Meistersinger
Liszt Les Preludes
Brahms Symphony Nr 4 e moll
In the beginning, I was overwhelmed by powerfully roaring brass and lower string instruments. It might be thanks to the hall ot to the orchestra. Maybe, both have made such a sound. The wind instruments were elegant. Oboe was always fascinating in such a big orchestra. The oboeist was not an exception. They have made a pleasant ensemble as well. The string instruments were a bit inclined to be overwhelmed by the brass. It might be due to my seat positioned in the front of the orchestra on the left side.
Was most remarkable performance Brahms. Among his 4 symphonies, this one, the last symphony for him, is rich in content, expressing yearning in resignation in the end of life. We could hear what brahms has felt in the end of his life. The orchestra has performed with breath of youth, though. The famous variation sung by flute in the 4th movement sounded like walking in a tree lined street. Even if the trees are in a riot of color in fall, the steps are that of young people. I prefer a performance as if the player was almost falling down in this variation to this youthful vivid one. It was a limit of such student orchestra but was attractive to me as well. I used to spend young days as they do right now. In my mind, I uttered "It was your turn. Enjoy your young days and don't forget the days you have played this touching music now." The theme of 4th movement was realized. And it rushed into a brilliant ending of the symphony. It has moved my mind a lot. I have never had such a feeling for a long time.
Going out of the hall, I found a cold evening there. My mind was, however, full of deep satisfaction. I should return to such a concert from now. I hurried back home.