Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 203- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra POPS-Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel (AJ Swearingen & Johathan Beedle) –magical harmony.

Image result for aj swearingen and jonathan beedle images

At age 10, I remember listening to my neighbor’s parent’s  Simon & Garfunkel albums,“Bridge Over Troubled Water” and "Simon and Garfunkel Greatest Hits." We sang “Cecilia and  Homeword Bound” over and over again.  As a child, I loved the harmony and the stories told in the music and to this day I gravitate toward artists that have poetic lyrics and that harmonize.  This 1960’s duo was truly a magical musical union that fit together like no other. They produced songs that lasted the test of time or the kind that when played, you just start to sing along.  The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra POPS –Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel–with guests,  AJ Swearingen and Jonathan Beedle, and under the direction of guest conductor, Michael  Krajewski, brought back that magical sound enriched with Pittsburgh's first class symphony orchestra.

AJ Sweringen and Jonathan Beedle in Pittsburgh

I have  enjoyed the  POPS’ mastery of combining the sounds of the symphony orchestra with  different  genres  of music  (see Day 196  and Day 142 ). I have not experienced the mix with rock or in this case, folk/rock.  The symphony opened with a musical melody of Simon and Garfunkel  songs  as a prologue of what we would hear. The conductor was witty and  injected humor and some musical history thoughout the show.  I did not know  that Simon and Garfunkel  both attended  the same elementary school and high school and that their sound was  influenced by  the music of the  Everly Brothers.
POPS home- beautiful Heinz Hall

 Aj Swearingen  with his guitar captured the baritone sound of Simon and  Jonathan Beedle reproduced the high notes and harmonies of  Garfunkel. They  were  a perfect match and just like in  Day 201-Brit Floyd,  when you closed your eyes you  were transported back to their concert in the l960’s.  With the full symphony orchestra   and the  poetic songs, I sat back, relaxed and  sang along with, “Homeward Bound, Feelin’  Groovy,  and I am a Rock.”  The symphony rhythms  and brass  gave “Cecilia” and “Keep the Customer Satisfied ” a powerful punch.  The talent of Swearingen and Beedle was even more apparent during the acoustic “The Sounds of Silence.”

Na Na Na sing along with conductor Michael Krajewski 

The first half of the show ended with a clever and humorous  audience  sing along orchestrated  by the conductor.  The audience  participated by  singing the words “Na Na Na,”  to each of three songs that  used these words like “Hey Jude” (Beetles).

The  show continued with an orchestra  medley of Paul Simon hits.  I recognized, “Kodachrome, Love You Like a Rock, and Crazy After All These Years.” The symphonic highlight was the beautiful  arrangement of  “All I Know” a Garfunkel hit.   The spot on duo was back for more and the audience broke into applause  during the start of “Scarborough Fair” (done acoustically ) and "Bridge Over Trouble Water.”

My blog inspiration, Little Golden Books, remind us that, “all you need is a little magic in your life!” That is just what the POPS gave us with this show and the magical harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel.  I am keeping this POP season in my survival tool box.

( Don’t miss the last shows of 2016-17 Season: Neil Sedaka, Neil and Louis, All That Jazz, and  Music of John Williams and/or the ones coming in the 2017-18 season)

Other Sources
America (Simon and Garfunkel)