Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Autumn Symphony, Orchestra at Temple Square

Autumn Symphony, Orchestra at Temple Square

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 24, 2009

The Orchestra at Temple Square gave its Autumn Symphony tonight and last night in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and my cousin (thanks, S.!) invited me to go with him:

Piano Concerto no. 1 in C Major, op. 15 – – – – – – – – – – Ludwig van Beethoven

Allegro con brio
Rondo Allegro

Vorspiel und Liebestod – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Richard Wagner

from Tristan und Isolde

Symphony no. 4in A major, op. 90 (“Italian”) – – – – – – – – – – Felix Mendelssohn

Allegro vivace
Andante con moto
Con moto moderato
Saltarello: Presto

Conductor, Igor Gruppman.

Guest pianist Aristo Sham, from Hong Kong, is 12 years old according to the program; he was so small when he walked out that I’d have guessed he was 8 or 9. He didn’t know he was a child, though. Sometimes he threw his whole body into striking the keys; at other moments he stroked the keys like he was petting a kitten. He seemed to be completely in charge of himself and the music.

The platform was banked by masses of flowers in oranges, yellows, and deep reds, and vases filled with autumn leaves still on their branches. My musical education being so rudimentary, I can’t tell you a thing about the music other than it was a pleasure to listen to live music, just as it came from the strings and horns, without second chances to get it right, music unfiltered through amplifiers and speakers. The Tabernacle, large as it is, is still an intimate place for artists.

I was very aware of my surroundings and thought of all the great musicians – Evan Stephens with his thousands of children singing in concert, John Philip Sousa and his band, generations of Tabernacle Choirs – who have played there, and all of the great and small who have been in that building – Brigham Young, my mother, John F. Kennedy, Carrie Nation, Arthur Conan Doyle, legions of visiting Civil War veterans, actors and archbishops and authors and antagonists – and I was grateful that the Church still makes that great hall available for community events like this.

What, though, is with the Mormon predilection for giving everything a standing ovation – not just at the end of a concert, but every time we applaud an individual number?



  1. every time we applaud an individual number

    I must admit I haven’t seen that. But I smiled at the general question about standing ovations at the end.

    Maybe it’s the same thing that leads many bloggers to use exclamation points!!!!! When we feel, we feel strongly!!!!



    Sounds like a lovely concert. Gonna go look up that 12-year-old. Wow.

    Comment by m&m — October 24, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  2. Yeah, thanks for this. I loved how, in one breath you confess your supposed musical ignorance, and in the other you say something so erudite and perceptive as, “it was a pleasure to listen to live music, just as it came from the strings and horns, without second chances to get it right, music unfiltered through amplifiers and speakers.”


    Comment by Hunter — October 25, 2009 @ 12:01 am

  3. Impressive list. I’m glad you got to enjoy it.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — October 25, 2009 @ 6:15 am

  4. What a treat!

    Comment by Ben Pratt — October 25, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  5. I’m guessing the mormon predilection to applaud every number stems from the repressed ability to applaud at all when mormons witness musical numbers in sacrament meeting. When mormons are finally allowed to applaud, they do so with gusto.

    Comment by Steve G. — October 26, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  6. That, Steve G., and we’re just so dang nice.

    Comment by Hunter — October 26, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

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