Sunday, March 29, 2009

You get chills, Danny Lee gets chills, from Mahler

This is my rough sketch of Danny Lee, cello honcho for The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, sketched in the bar at Powell Symphony Hall Friday night while Danny was talking about Mahler.

The red dot marks a zit, added at his insistence, in the interest of versimillitude. The sketched is signed by the subject.

Let me emphasize that Danny was not on the gig Friday night - one would not expect the principal cellist to be drinking a Schlafly ale in the concert hall bar just before a show.

I was talking just the other day about Mahler's song settings, his poetry scores, which must be why I brought up Mahler with Danny. It hit a nerve with him, and he spoke at length with little additonal prodding.

Every symphony musician loves Mahler. It's really an adventure. Every Mahler symphony is like an epic, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy - you know you're going to go on an adventure. The replay value is really high in a Mahler symphony, you always learn new things by playing it again. You can hear the culture in it. You can really hear the world he lived in. And when you see the score, there is a lot going on - there is all this shit going on, but it has heart. You get chills, I get chills. And he's got those glasses the guy in The Matrix was wearing!
An image of our conversation survives. I was at Powell with a group of writers hosted by the Symphony for Blogger's Night II. My fellow blogger, Julie Dill, apparently found Danny and myself to be bloggable material.

I'm the guy with the beer belly and the sketch pad.


This piece was produced for Eddie Silva and The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Publications Department as part of its online media effort, "Blogger's Night II."

Companion pieces:

SLSO Blogger's Night II: an adventure with friends

Maria chanted, Henry translated, Kaija scored, David directed, Karita sang, I assigned, Leyla drew

I always have fun drawing pictures of David Robertson

Composition for orchestra and psychedelic mushroom

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