My preview article about this weekend's concert featuring The Contours performing with the Richmond Symphony appeared in today's Times-Dispatch.
This was a last-minute assignment that I initially wasn't going to take, but I'm glad I did. I mean, why not? Well, because I don't always relish the idea of giving valuable print space to out-of-town groups. Sure, they're appearing with our own RSO, but here's the thing: why? I didn't get a call in soon enough to arrange an interview with RSO Associate Conductor Erin Freeman, but I wanted to ask her, "What will a full orchestra add to The Contours' sound? What really is the artistic point of this concert?"
It's not a purely provocative question; I'm sincerely curious about Freeman's answer. If there is something musical to be gained, I'd be willing to have her convince me. But maybe the only reasons for having this concert are extramusical--attracting new audiences, helping people feel comfortable with the RSO, demystifying the Carpenter Theatre, etc. Good. But is that enough? I don't think so, in fact.
Oh, okay. I'll conclude that the artistic point of putting The Contours and a symphony orchestra on the same stage together is have some musical fun. Why not?