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Sunday May 28, 2017
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Fairy Tales by the AASO

 

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School's music department used to win Grammy Awards regularly. Then somebody else may mention that the Ann Arbor Symphony used to present family concerts on Sunday afternoons — and everyone will stop and sigh.

That was way back when Pfizer was still in town, the automobile industry was still in Michigan, and the big money was still in America — or at least enough of it to support something as pointlessly ephemeral and as transcendentally beautiful as classical music.

After a bit, one music lover may start talking about the time in March 2007 when her dad took her to hear the Ann Arbor Symphony twice in the same weekend. From the grown-up concert (From Russia with Love) on Saturday night, she recalls hearing Arie Lipsky conduct a shining Russian Easter Overture by Rimsky-Korsakov, a glittering Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with soloist Anton Nel, and a searing Tchaikovsky Pathétique. She appreciates only now just how good it was, appreciates especially the Pathétique's passionately despairing tone. What she liked better then — what still makes her tear up now — was the family concert (Fairy Tales) on Sunday afternoon.

It wasn't just that the Michigan was filled with kids her age — though she did feel more relaxed not having to sit still all the time. And it wasn't the talking between pieces — even then, she thought that was pretty numb. What it was, of course, was the music.

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