We were treated to Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Opus 68 during the second half of the show. It took Brahms over 14 years to compose his symphony, which consists of four movements. Again, the violins were showcased, and Stewart Kitts' solos in the second movement were fantastic. He was truly one with the music, and seemed not to open his eyes during the entire piece. The fourth movement featured two pizzicato (plucking) sections on the strings, which I always enjoy, and the trombonists who were brought in especially for this performance finally got their opportunity to play. Again, the audience rose to its feet in appreciation after the CSO had played its final note and Maestro Wada put down his baton.
I loved having the opportunity to introduce Susan to the CSO and Maestro Wada. She was struck by the Maestro's warmth and connection with both the musicians and the audience. I happened to watch CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood this week, and there was an interesting segment on charisma. Of course the segment focused to some extent on politicians given the upcoming elections, but it also talked about charismatic people in other professions and the development by researchers at MIT of a "sociometer" to measure an individual's charisma. As I watched the show, I thought about Maestro Wada's interactions the previous evening. Before the concert began, he welcomed the concertgoers to that night's performance by "our" Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and shared that his birthday had fallen during the concert rehearsals and that he had been treated to an orchestral "happy birthday to you." When he turned to the musicians, you could feel the bond that has developed between conductor and orchestra. There is no doubt in my mind that if Francis were to wear a sociometer, his charisma rating would be off the chart. It's just one more reason why Saturday night's performance was wunderbar!