Lang Lang, RiverRun, Petrouchka

Friday night, Lang Lang performed with the Seattle Symphony. He played Chopin's 1st Piano Concerto (really Chopin's second, as his first was named his second, but who's counting?).
Lang Lang is technically virtuostic, and he comes straight from the Yo Yo Ma school of demonstrative physical expressionism. My first encounter with him left me thinking that he plays the crowd better than he plays the piano. Some of his phrasings frustrated me, though there's no doubt he makes the extremely difficult look effortless.
The audience, as expected, ate him up and showered him with raucous applause, whistles, and shouts of "bravo!"
The opening piece was the opening movement of Stephen Albert's Symphony RiverRun, titled Rain Music. An older couple sitting behind me whispered during the performance, "That doesn't sound like rain to me." Do we lose our sense of metaphor as we age?
Albert won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Symphony RiverRun. Albert found inspiration for the symphony in James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. I loved Rain Music and will have to find a copy of the full symphony to listen to.
The closing piece was Stravinsky's Petrouchka, a piece I played when I was in junior high or high school and have loved ever since. It's a piece that ends quietly, and when it concluded half the audience sat there quietly, not sure if the piece was over. The SSOs audience doesn't seem to enjoy modern music. They love their classics, the old favorites, and they love their virtuostic soloists. It's unfortunate they won't let their symphony grow up, but I suppose someday I'll actively wrap myself in the comforts of nostalgia as well.