Readers weren't shy in reacting to the Lang Lang/Herbie Hancock concert that closed the Philadelphia Orchestra's Mann season last week. And they weren't unexpressive about my review. Some North Jersey readers who caught the act at NJPAC also weighed in.
If anyone out there feels moderately about the schtick, she's keeping it to herself. Quotes from five readers:
"Peter, my husband and I just read your scathing review of this concert, and it is a shame that you can't get out of your stuffy world to recognize a completely magical evening when you hear one. "
"Expecting a night of bedazzling musical swordplay between the two stars, each in their own element, we instead were blighted with inappropriate panache and bewildering antics. Had Victor Borge conjured up a jovial rendition of Rhapsody in Blue, I would have been forgiving. It wasn't a new arrangement of an American canonical piece - it was a derangement."
"The evening was an affront to all of us who expected two great performers to respect their audience and treat the music (and the announced program) with respect.
Perhaps we were naive or may lack your sophistication, but we and everyone around us went away smiling and quite happy to have witnessed this performance. Remember, Herbie Hancock is unquestionably one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Jazz IS improvisation and most people expected it. I read you often and agree with you often. In this instance, I feel, we attended two different concerts.
"I was amazed at the standing ovations and the enthusiasm that the audience offered to these two performers. I felt like I had attended a different concert than the one that the rest of the audience enjoyed."