The Philadelphia Orchestra recently had a "College Night." It was a nice idea in some ways--up to two tickets could be reserved online, and as long as you flashed your college ID at the door, it was free. (Of course, I wonder why this event is only limited to college students, when those younger people who are not in college might perhaps be even more in need of free tickets, but don't mind me, I get grumpy like that.)
But basically a good idea, and as the above-linked Inquirer article says, it's one of many such activities the Orchestra has been engaged in recently, trying in reinterest the city in classical music after the long somnambulance of Christoph Eschenbach's reign. (Memo to the NSO: really?) Definitely worthy. A bunch of my students went to this concert as one of their required attendances at a performance of ye olde classical music. For the most part, it seemed to have gone well. The band played Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra and Tchaikovsky's Tempest overture, both fine choices for the occasion, interesting and challenging. But the middle work of the program was....Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat major.
Don't get me wrong. I love Haydn. I have spent many a happy hour sawing away on my viola through the string quartets. The late symphonies are divine. There's a lot of great scholarship on Haydn. Yadda yadda yadda. But...if the Philadelphia Orchestra think this particular piece is a good piece to introduce college students to the glories of classical music, or even just to the glories of eighteenth-century music...well, I'll let my ellipses speak for themselves.
22 hours ago