Monday, December 6, 2010

Concert for the Cure

An Evening to Remember
Music can cure the sole and inspire courage, determination and committment

Sir Simon Rattle
Jordan Hall - New England Conservatory
Julie Scolnik

Marc-André Hamelin

Last night Paula & I attended the Concert for the Cure entitled "Rhythms of Hope" at Jordan Hall.  This concert sponsored by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Massachusetts was spurred on by Julie Scolnik, a breast cancer survivor and flautist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  As Julie explained, it was music that enabled her to get through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  On the eve of her final radiation therapy 5 years ago, she played in a concert that included Franck's violin Sonata.  This initial performance has evolved into a fabulous fundraising event. 

We came away so moved from this event.  To envision, some 70 local performers, a world-class painist and one of the top 5 conductors in the world was something to behold.  As we learned, Sir Simon Rattle had developed a friendship with Julie Scolnik, when he served as guest conductor for the BSO.  Through this friendship, the maestro agreed to come to Boston on his day off to rehearse with the performers and conduct a 2 hour concert before returning to New York at the Metropolitan Opera where he is making his debut conducting Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy starring his wife, the Czech mezzo-soprano, Magdalena Kožená. 

It was evident that these time constraints would promote a concert without intermission.  The pianist Marc-André Hamelin played the Mozart Piano Concert in G, K. 453 in a refined, but elegant way.  His mastery of the keybord allowed musicality without theatrics.  The piece was executed to perfection and warmly received by the audience.    As a prelude to the second pice the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 5., Ms. Scolnick greeted the audience with a brief but poignant speech articulating her thoughts on music and her journey to recovery from treatment of breast cancer.  She payed special note to Beth Israel Hospital and her loving family and friends.  She told us of her sitting in the chemo chair listening to her IPod to get through each treatment cycle.  This Adagietto is full of hope and joy as the string section takes you to ultimate resolution of the thematic journey.  My wife, Paula thought it was reminiscent of a film score.

The program concluded with a truly astonishing performance of the Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 2, conducted without score.  Rattle was instrumental in bringing these volunteer musicians to an incredible level of playing.  You had to be there to witness the emotion of a rousing standing ovation and cheering from the audience as the piece concluded.  Simon Rattle was singing to the music and was obviously pleased by the result.  He reminded me of Leonard Bernstein.  Rattle graciously acknowldeged all of the soloists to enormous applause.  To think of the pride of these musicians in gathering together for a common cause was exceptionally heartening.  I can not think of a better way of spending an evening than sharing in the common goal of supporting research, providing support and care for patients as well as contributing to finding a cure.

Credit must be shared selflessly by all.  It was truly a spectacular eveing filled with Joy, Love & Hope.