Goings on Around Town: Gwangju Symphony Orchestra, May 11, Andrew O’ Donnell on free energy known as “Radiant Energy” and Rabbits May 12, at the GIC and a one-night affair with the amazing photographer Park Ha Son at Kunsthalle.

Park Ha SonOn May 11th, new conductor Christian Ludwig, who like his predecessor studied at the Mannheim School of Music in Germany, and who is German, though his mother is Korean,
Proved his conducting ability in a concert that could be dubbed “Beethoven 3, 4, 5” because we heard Overture number three for “Lenore,” (Opus 72) then piano concerto number 4 (in G Minor) (Opus 58) and then the familiar Fifth Symphony (“Schicksal,” which translates into destiny or fate form German)(Opus 67).

As always, the first flute shined when she had solo moments in the beautifully complex melody in the Lenore Overture. The first Oboe also took advantage of solo moments throughout the night, thus lifting the entire woodwind section.

Chinese pianist Xiang Huang then wowed the audience with silky arpeggios in the less-heard but haunting Fourth piano concerto. This piece has a short middle movement that is literally a funeral dirge. His encore was an A.N. Scriabin Etude (Opus 8, number 10) that added dazzle and got a lot of bow taps form the orchestra.

For those who forgot the opening melody and counter melody of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, even the “words” da da da daaah, da da da duuuuh, should suffice to alert the brain cells. This is followed by an intricate counter-melody in which the first and second violins create such a tight syncopation that any rhythmical flaw could be amplified say, until measure number 60 or so.

But this potentiality, in a not-so-easy to pull off first movement, be it so very well known, was brilliantly avoided when Ludwig, who must have rehearsed this idea quite a bit, got the GSO started in grand form. The violins technical prowess, much improved over the last few years, was immaculate, and had to be, because Ludwig’s approach was daring. Instead of perhaps slowing the pace just a touch, not noticeably, but enough to allow the strings to counter each other and breathe at the same time, he pushed their abilities and actually cranked the pace up from Allegro Con Brio (quick enough as is) to a sly but very enjoyable Vivace, one step up the beats-per-minute meter, but not enough different to bother the audience.

This pace served to showcase the first and second violins, but it was the cellos that stole the night. The evening was magic, and set up a memorable Sinae Saturday.

First Andrew O’Donnell gave a technical, yet stimulating overview of the science behind “Radiant Energy” and the use of electro magnetic to actually produce more energy than they use, while also creating electricity that could be used, say in a home. The Scientist John Bedini, who has been turning rocks into electricity since he was a child, expanded Tesla’s theories into a working model of how radiant energy can be tapped, and how electricity can be found even OUTSIDE batteries that are charged by moving electro-magnets. Should this science be applied to the general public, the use for fossil fuels could disappear instantly.

A set of batteries, maybe two photovoltaic solar panels, and a large electromagnet contraption, and presto, you could charge your electric car, run your TV and refrigerator, heat your water and house, and the oil companies and local utilities could take a day off and go play golf on all the previous decades’ winnings.

While listening to Andrew, one could also take in the Rabbit themed (this is the year of the Rabbit in Chinese astrology) in which Jen Lee, Leroy Kucia, Lisa Mynhardt Isaiah Winters and Erin Heath put their spins on the theme.
After this stimulation came the sublime photography of Park Ha Son at Kunsthalle. Park has been shooting black and white photographs of Dolems, those large rock markers, often of grave sites, throughout Korea and in China for decades. The work is as if Ansel Adams was reincarnated through Park: distinct contrast, extremely sharp details, and amazing sense of viewpoint, even in subjects that might not always inspire creativity on such a grand scale. The reception offered photograph lovers a chance to purchase a very large hard-bound and well sleeved book of hundreds of photographs, thus my weak attempts to reproduce his photographs should be seen as a simple primer, as Park Ha Son is a master and one we hope we can see more of around Gwangju in the future.

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