Heinz Hall, originally constructed in 1927, was beautifully renovated in the 1970s.

It is the most elegant of the downtown theaters, with the others being lovely in their own rights.

Last weekend, one of the best friends (Happy Birthday, Fiona!) a gal could have treated me to an evening at the symphony. Only my second symphony visit, it was a doubly delightful treat to enjoy “Alec’s Playlist” as conducted by Maestro Manfred Honeck and a unique organ experience by Cameron Carpenter.

Alec Baldwin's Playlist

Alec Baldwin’s Playlist

 

The program included Alec’s intro piece, which we commonly know as the key soundtrack to “2001 Space Odyssey,” but which bears the proper name, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Opus by Richard Strauss.

That piece set the tone for a delightful commentary by Mr. Baldwin, personalizing the evening and giving the audience a glimpse into this accomplished actor’s love of classical music.

We were treated to:

Hector Berlioz’s Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath.

Gustav Mahler, Adagietto from Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor, which surprisingly wound up being my favorite piece. When you relax into the music, it moves your body up and down, racing your heartbeat one moment and soothing you the next.

Tchaikovsky provided us with Pas de Deux from “The Nutcracker, Opus 71.”

Beethoven, always one of this classical music novice’s favorites, enlivened us with Finale (IV. Allegro con brio) from Symphony No. 7 in A major, Opus 92. 

Sergei Prokofiev’s The Death of Tybalt, Opus 64, which made me want to run home and pick up Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet: to read again this tragic scene.

Who could resist enjoying George Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm?

The final piece was by Dmitri Shostakovich, Finale (IV. Allegro non trope) from Symphony No. 5, Opus 47. 

There are no bad seats in Heinz Hall. The acoustics are so generous that every seat is a perfect one. When Cameron Carpenter played, a huge screen was lowered so we could see his keyboard work—across four tiers of the International Touring Organ. If you have a chance to see him, don’t scoff, indulge and enjoy the uniqueness of his talent.

Pittsburgh’s Symphony Orchestra is phenomenal and hearing them play in Heinz Hall is an all-encompassing experience. Have you been?