Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rite of Spring

As part of Arts Fest, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra opened up the Bob Carr so anyone could see them as they rehearsed Igor Stravinski's "Rite of Spring" as well as Beethoven's Symphony Number 6 "Pastorale". I sat near the front row with a view off into the deep off stage wings. During any actual performance, sound panels are set up which block a view off stage. Cole Nesmith was there with some of his friends seated one row behind me in the center of the auditorium. He looked a bit ragged and worn with exhaustion from having set up and dismantled his 20 foot high "Tree of Light". After a heavy tree branch broke off and crashed to the ground, he is having a 3D model made and getting a structural engineer to check the tree's stability. I admire the huge Live Oak trees I see around town now all the more. Any tree is a marvel of engineering.

Conductor Chris Wilkins introduced "Rite of Spring" to the sparse audience. He said that in the ballet, a woman danced to the music in a pagan ritual to the point of exhaustion and beyond. He wouldn't say more since children might be present. The music war raw and primal. I had never heard it performed live and the dissonance and complexity of the piece were exhilarating and unexpected. I only knew of the music thanks to Fantasia. This is the pop cultural image of primordial creation that has been burned into our collective memory.

Most of the audience cleared out during the break after "Rite of Spring" was performed. They missed the second half of the rehearsal. I had plenty of work still to do on the sketch so I worked right through the orchestra's break. When "Pastorale" began to play, I began splashing pools of color on my sketch. Of course "Pastorale" also was in Fantasia. This music evokes feelings of a much more peaceful time perhaps on a country estate. Walking back to my truck, the music gradually was overwhelmed by honking horns, and the rush of traffic as people hurried about downtown.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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