San Francisco Symphony Brings H K Gruber’s Frankenstein to Life

Upon entering Flint Center last night, I had no idea what to expect. I had heard that H.K Gruber’s Frankenstein was a testimonial to our ” modern ” culture, and that it was an interpretive piece that was a bit ” off the beaten path” .

Nothing could have prepared me for the musical journey I was about to take – a delightful journey full of the dark and light portions of a child’s imagination painted beautifully by Herr Gruber as he played a kaleidoscope of children’s instruments without violating the expectations of the serious symphony enthusiast with respect to form, musicality, and overall instrumental blend.

The audience was enthralled, as each of us revisted our youthful morbid fascinations with rats, monsters, and the dreaded dark amidst popping paper bags, kazoos, and the ever present and insistent percussion section.

Herr Gruber seemed to transform himself seamlessly between a European version of Mel Brooks, Dr. Frankenstein himself, and a brillant composer very worthy of the limelight.

I have never witnessed a piece so full of different elements, yet tied together so effortlessly in such an avant garde fashion.

I could tell that not all members of the audience were as comfortable with the morbid fasinations of a child as I was, but I believe that is just due to faulty memory.

Who as a child didn’t watch ” Night of the Living Dead” , huddle in fear under the covers, just knowing that little monsters were outside the house, or played in graveyard, daring the spirits to show themselves?

Children are naturally morbidly curious, and H. K. Gruber’s masterpiece captured this natural curiousity in a flamboyant and whimsical way that took the fear out of the “monster under the bed”.

Bravo, for a work well done!

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