Yesterday I wasn't working and spent most of it in a state of glorious, decadent repose with cocktails commencing at 3:00 pm. Suddenly it was last summer, as the sun was shining and it felt warm for the first time in weeks. That's all to the good, believe me, but it wasn't necessarily conducive to giving the orchestra my fullest attention later in the evening.

The concert began with Mussorgsky's prelude to Khovanschina, an opera I've yet to see and likely won't get a chance to anytime soon- at least locally. There's not much to say about it (it lasts about six minutes) except that it's gorgeous music and has these haunting, bell-like tones lurking within it that have always made me curious to experience the entire thing.

Conductor Yan Pascale Tortelier chose to lead it without a score. This choice always intrigues me, as I can't help but see it as a statement on the conductor's part implying a mastery and knowledge of the score- "I know this by heart inside and out- watch me!"  A music stand and the score were brought onstage for the next piece, Khachaturian's Violin Concerto, written in 1940. The soloist was Vadim Gluzman, performing the piece on a 1690 Stradivarius on extended loan to him. Gluzman was fantastic. The work affords the soloist hardly a break and he wove through the folk-inspired melodies with seeming ease.

The score and stand disappeared again after intermission and Tortelier led the orchestra through a bombastic, sometimes plodding rendition of music from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliette. The fleet elegance found in the score nowhere to be heard. Oh wait- the score was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps that explains it. My companion had a less charitable view, but she can write about that on her own blog.