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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

David Garrett: Rock Symphony

Tonight Sylvia and I went to see German violinist David Garrett and his band play with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at the Winspear. I suspect Sylvia's initial desire to attend was driven by Garrett's undeniable pulchritude, but his talent proved to equal or even surpass his looks. It was a fun, stirring, powerful performance.

Opening with Led Zepplin's "Kashmir" and closing with The Beatles' "Hey Jude," Garret and his band filled the evening with covers of popular rock and classical tunes intermixed with a pair of the band's own original pieces, including the titular, powerful "Rock Symphony" and the tongue-in-cheek homage "80s Anthem." Garret's interpretations of Bach, Beethoven, Nirvana, Paul McCartney & Wings and Guns 'N Roses were all familiar yet new, each given Garrett's virtuoso touch. The man plays a mean fiddle, and his stage persona is utterly disarming: self-effacing, humble, playful, warm. I was particularly thrilled when he led the orchestra in a stirring rendition of "Swords Crossed," one of my favourite tracks from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack.

Though the performance was superb, I found myself distracted by the videographers, one carrying a handheld, the other using a crane; several other cameras were invisible to me. I doubt anyone else noticed them, but as a student of film and television I found it fascinating to study the director's editing choices as he switched from camera to camera, fading between a half-dozen angles, working in concert with the camera operators to ensure that the large video screens were never too static. It became a bit of a game to predict which shot would follow which: crane, centre stage, handheld, centre stage, crane panning over orchestra, stage left, handheld, pan again, etc. I assume only one or two other people found this sort of thing interesting, focussing properly on the performance.

In any event, it was a wonderful show and another superb evening at the Winspear Centre. Edmontonians are lucky to have such a wonderful facility and a world-class orchestra.


Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

I heard he is also the world's fastest violinist, having been clocked at a blistering 13 notes a second on Flight of the Bumblebee. Sounds like an interesting show, and I'm glad you and Sylvia enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

Earl, what a great review! I was just wondering, do you think that all the camera activity will result in a future television broadcast or possibly a DVD video?

Earl J. Woods said...

I was wondering the same thing, anonymous, and I certainly hope so. I'd definitely buy a DVD - or better yet, a Blu-Ray - of the concert.