GREAT PERFORMANCES: VIENNA PHILHARMONIC SUMMER NIGHT CONCERT 2012
Friendly Rating: If presented right – all ages
Safety Rating: One reference to some laciviousness in the narration, but otherwise no problem
Quality Rating: Perfectly relaxing and delightful
Special airs tonight on PBS, check your local listings for times.
Back when I was a kid there was only one way to listen to “classical” music, aka the music of the great European (mostly) Masters. You sat quietly and just listened. Now, that’s a great thing to do when you’re in a concert hall with a bunch of music geeks who want to absorb every note and nuance. If you want to get your kids interested in classical and other forms of concert music, not such a great thing to do.
You want to get your kids interested in great classical music – get a really good recording of the 1812 Overture and tell them that there’s a real cannon going off at the end, then let them dance and run around the living room. Or you put on this Great Performances special, do up a picnic in the TV room and let them watch, hum, dance and just relax while you sip on a nice cold glass of wine.
If you’ve had a crazy week and want to ease into the the Labor Day weekend, this special is perfect for it. Conductor (and local LA hero) Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra through some pretty basic classics, including Tchaikovsky’s Polonnaise from Eugene Onegin, La Mer by Debussy (which features some amazing modern dance in a fountain, no less) and even a waltz by Richard Strauss, about which Dudamel charmingly concedes that he’s asking for it – after all, he’s from Venezuela and he’s playing where the whole waltz thing got started.
Aside from two pieces accompanied by dancers, there really isn’t that much to actually look at, but that’s fine, too. You might even want to put the concert on and play a board game or do some other task. The bottom line is that this is beautiful music and well worth exposing yourself and your kids to. Whether they’re practicing their concert manners or throwing themselves across the TV room.