By Bill Robinson
When Sir James Galway performed Tuesday at the EKU Center for the Arts, audience members seemed to hold their breath out of fear their respiration might mar the exquisite sound that he conjures from his 20-carat gold instrument.
If possible, they probably would have suppressed their heartbeats, or done anything else, so they could take in more of his music. How often do most of us get to hear James Galway live?
Regardless of how advanced digital recordings have become, nothing can compare to a live performance, especially a Galway performance
The audience was saved from asphyxiation, however, by the Belfast native’s Irish wit, that he shared between musical pieces. He seemed to enjoy telling jokes almost as much as playing his music.
Perhaps he finds them as relaxing as the audience did.
After a few laughs, the audience, Galway and the Irish Chamber Orchestra that backed him up were ready for more of his music.
Joined at times by his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, the audience enjoyed the work of two Irish composers, Hamilton Harty (In Ireland) and Philip Hammond (Crolan Variantions), and Mozart (Flute Concerto in D major).
Galway impressed with his stamina as well as his music. Most people would grow weary just standing for more than an hour. But the nearly 74-year-old Galway stood and played difficult flute music for that time. Even his younger wife did not match his time on the stage.
At intermission, he sat in the center’s lobby cheerfully signing autographs, showing no signs of fatigue.
At least he didn’t have to play the concert’s second half.
That allowed the world-class Irish Chamber Orchestra not to be upstaged by the flute’s “living legend.”
While supporting James Galway would be an honor for any musician, no matter how good they are, no one can compete with Sir James.
The orchestra proved everyone could have been justified the price of admission just to hear them as they played Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony No. 41.
Bill Robinson can be reached at email@example.com or at 624-6690.