Natalie MacMaster at the Cleveland Orchestra

I have always had a penchant for classical music (besides my crazy love for scream-o metal music). The symphonies of Beethoven and the violin concertos of Vivaldi have been my “soul” music for many years now. Whether to study or to just calm the mind, I listen to them time and again – a small proof of the timelessness of such epic music. I had always wondered how such deeply moving music is made, who makes it and how does the sound come out so perfectly. I knew there were orchestras and closest to those I had seen were in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

But when I came to Cleveland, I found out that there was an orchestra which used to play at a place barely 3 blocks away from my college. Now that was convenient! And as is the case with every new thing that comes my way, I had to go see it. I attended the performance of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony – “Pastoral” conducted by world-famous Franz Welser-Möst and performed mostly by Professors here at the famous Cleveland Institute of Music. What an experience! That was when space-time warped around me and I was shot through a wormhole into the other side of the galaxy, all the way experiencing the sights and sounds of an idyllic paradise. It got me hooked on the Cleveland Orchestra.

Tonight was my 8th concert of the season since I started attending in mid-September. Not to take anything away from the previous ones, tonight was the most fun concert of them all. I will not forget this one for a long time to come.

Natalie MacMaster from Nova Scotia, Canada. World-famous fiddler, mother of 6 children, brilliant orator, superb stage performer and truly inspirational personality. She played Celtic and Folk music on her fiddle (an instrument very much akin to the violin but having a different sound – you gotta hear it to know it). The program lasted for 2 hours plus a 15 minute intermission and for every single moment of the show, I and supposedly the whole audience was on edge, the edge of pure happiness and fun.

The program started off with a lively prelude by the orchestra, a symphony more akin to some Hobbit or Lord of the Rings style epic background score. Then came in Natalie MacMaster, with Mac Morin on the grand piano and Eric Breton on percussion. I must also mention that Severance Hall for lighted up for Christmastime and her entry also brought in a change in lights; the whole concert hall glowing purple and pink – a treat for the eyes! She started off with such an energy and a body language that everyone in the audience was resonating with her in some way or the other. A couple of elderly ladies were really enjoying the music. And to top that, she was tap dancing while playing! In the second melody, Mac Morin left his piano and performed a splendid tap dance. She was vibrating with energy, dancing and playing at the same, moving from one part of the stage to another, the audience clapping along with the beats of her heels!

In the second part of the program, she also played one of her sober compositions – “If ever you were mine” – she recorded this one first when she was 19 yrs old in 1991. Here is a YouTube link for those who would be interested. Between melodies, she took up the mine and talked to the audience, telling some or the other funny story about her family or herself. I really admired her love for her family, especially for a person so dedicated to their craft, their work and one who has near the pinnacle of her career. The program ended with a not so surprising standing ovation, which lasted for around 10 minutes, the audience clapping and getting a bonus performance as well! My hands were hurting after the clapping stopped but it was all for someone who deserved it. This performance could easily sway the crowds of a rock music festival. As for me, I became a life-long fan of Ms MacMaster!

While searching YouTube for some more performances by her, I came across one where she performing on stage with her little kids! A must-watch! Enjoy!


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