The joy of live music

Last night my wife and I were given a rare treat by my brother and his wife: tickets to see David Lanz and Kurt Bestor together in concert, along with free babysitting. We had excellent seats: a few rows back and center in the balcony, where we could easily see the hands of both musicians as they played.

The two men are friends, though they didn’t elaborate. But it’s clear they like each other and enjoy playing together–and giving each other gentle grief in their comments between pieces. I won’t complain, as it led Bestor to play us a piece he’d never performed publicly before.

The format of the concert was largely impromptu. They alternated sets, played a piece together, alternated sets again, and then played several pieces together. Their first shared piece was with audience participation: they elicited five notes at random from the audience. I don’t know what they got the previous night, but this time they got F C A D B–the B really threw them a bit. But they managed to build an improvised duet around it.

For their final set together they basically had a jam session together, improvising on a known tune, and then a concept started off by one of them. It was fun to watch them communicate with glances (and sometimes musically) who was to take the lead at various points. It can really be something to watch when talented musicians have fun together.

Of course their individual pieces were incredible. Lanz does some interesting things with Beatles tunes, I must say. Of course he played Cristofori’s Dream, which I’ve loved for a long time, and has even greater power live. Most of Bestor’s pieces I’d heard before, but it was the one he wrote for his wife that touched me the most.

Terhi really seemed to enjoy it as well, of which I’m glad. We can have very divergent tastes in music sometimes, so I was a bit nervous. She’s a Beatles fan (I somehow never heard about Lanz’s Beatles albums), which I’m sure helped. But she’s also a pianist, so she could perhaps appreciate it on a level I can’t even touch. We both agreed we need to go to more events like this, and start taking the kids so they can see it done well.

On the way home we tried to remember the last time we’d been to a professional-level concert, alone or together. The only one we could remember was a country singer at the state fair–ten years ago. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy live concerts. We’ll have to make sure it’s not another ten years.

Thank you, Dan and Denise! That was a wonderful evening, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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