Sunday, March 12, 2006

Mahler 2: Big WOW of the Season!!!!

Liilia, Paavo, Sandye, and Neeme in the CSO green room after Saturday night's concert

May I just take a moment to tell you how unbelievably amazing Paavo's little band, the Cincinnati Symphony, sounded Saturday night?? Mahler's spirit was most definitely in the house, man, and I can reprezent by virtue of the fact that during the finale, I suddenly found myself taken by a major case of the chills and then, for good measure, just burst into tears! As soon as PJ made the final sweep of his arm to the orchestra and chorus and then swiveled around, turning, in his trademark dramatic look toward the unusually full hall, the house erupted in cries of "bravo" . The audience, full of pent-up energy and emotion, let loose, applauding for what seemed like an eternity, and with an extra soupcon of foot-stamping for good measure!

My special (and unexpected) pleasure occurred after the concert, as I waited to go backstage to the green room, along with other concertgoers. I had spied Liilia Jarvi, Paavo's beautiful mother, sitting in the conductor's box just before the lights went down. Later, as we waited for the backstage door to be opened, I noticed her again, near the head of the line, smiling and nodding in empathy as she heard me describe my reaction to the piece to a friend.

Once, finally backstage, and waiting patiently in the green room for Paavo to emerge from his "inner sanctum", I recognized his father, Neeme, talking with a group of Finns. For me, Paavo is Paavo and my dear friend, but, my, oh, my -- Neeme -- well, *he's* The Maestro!!

For a number of years now, Paavo has told me that his father is *my* greatest fan because he can always go to my Paavo site and know just what Paavo's up to! Well, tonight I had the pleasure of meeting The Maestro and having a real conversation with him. And what a charmer he is. I can see why he is so beloved in Detroit and told him that I couldn't wait to see him conduct one of these days -- and hoped it would be here and sooner rather than later!!

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