Jean screwed up his schedule so I got to be his last minute replacement to accompany Cathy to an evening with Daniel Levitin and the K-W Symphony.
Part of the Intersections series, Beethoven and Your Brain is a collaboration of music and commentary — I think coming out of a long-time conversation between Levitin and Edwin Outwater that resulted in Levitin’s book, This is Your Brain on Music. And we used clickers!
Basic premise of the evening was that these two exchanged some banter (fabulously stilted as they read from the scripts) and then Outwater and the orchestra played a bit of Beethoven’s 5th to help us notice a pattern or hear an emotion and so on, and then Levitin would get us to answer a multiple-choice answer and/or told us a bit about how the brain processes music.
The Overture to Egmont op. 84 was the intensity and the Spanish. Apparently, Beethoven was trying to impress a count and was referring to Napoleon but somehow Spanish influences were involved. In any case, most of the participants got the right answers.
Then we followed the bah-bah-Bah-bah of the overture and we had to count how many times the pattern showed up (263), and again, most people were pretty close. They also showed how most of us know pitch, even if we think we don’t, by playing the opening in different keys and asking us to pick out the right one, and I think 97% got that one right.
Then we got to sit back and just enjoy some music for a while, made especially awesome by the presence of my favourite tiger bassist.
A very pleasant evening.