At the pre-show chat before Friday night's Lexington Philharmonic concert, a member of the audience asked guest conductor Daniel Meyer what his impression of Lexington was.
"When I left my home in Pittsburgh, I thought, 'You don't need your hat and gloves, you're going to Lexington,'" said Meyer (photo, left, by Rich Copley). "And I've been freezing."
Chat moderator Joe Tackett demurred, "We do have summer."
Indeed, this week's icy weather played havoc with the rehearsal schedule for Meyer's concert with the LPO, essentially an audition to succeed George Zack as music director or the orchestra. The winter weather Thursday night, which had WLEX boasting it had more than 400 closings and cancellations up on its website, also torpedoed the dress rehearsal for Friday's concert, as well as several other events.
So, Friday at 5 p.m., just three hours before the downbeat, Meyer was on stage at the Singletary Center conducting that final dress.
"That's a lot of playing for one day," Tackett, a Philharmonic bass player and frequent Copious Notes commenter said before the concert. "We'll see how it goes."
It was a concert of familiar works with the Barber Adagio and Dvorak New World Symphony on the program, as well as a dramatic take on the Schumann Piano Concerto, with soloist Sara Buechner kicking off her shoes to play the piece.
The tension of the afternoon rehearsal didn't really show on Meyer, 36, when he took the Singletary stage for the pre-show chat.
The resident conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony and music director of the orchestras in Erie, Penn., and Ashville, N.C., breezily talked about his background, growing up the son of a music educator in Cleveland. In fact, Meyer's mom and other family members from Ohio were in the hall Friday night for the concert.
Tackett joked that a famous musician had once written, "Beware the conductor who brings his own audience."
Meyer did also give Tackett the most decisive rebuff to his standard question of how many bass concertos the prospective conductor would program: "Bass concertos are a scourge, and should never be played," Meyer said with an evil grin.
Meyer did address the concert audience briefly after intermission, mainly talking about the high points of the New World Symphony, and even giving the audience a taste of his trained singing voice by singing a few bars of the spiritual Goin' Home, the central tune of Dvorak's American masterpiece.
While the weather outside was frightful, Meyer clearly had warmed to Lexington and its orchestra, closing the pre-show saying, "Lexington is rich not only in wealth, but also in great human beings."
Weigh in: Did you go to the show? Click here to tell the Phil what you thought of Meyer.