Went to see the Mary Chapin Carpenter concert at Wolf Trap last night, where she was joined by composer/arranger Vince Mendoza and the National Symphony Orchestra to perform his new orchestral arrangements of a number of her old songs, which are apparently also on her new album Songs from the Movie. So I suppose in retrospect it was advertisement for the album, but as well as working, it provided for a wonderful night of music. The orchestral arrangements took the songs, some of which had been great already, and gave them a whole new dimension and beauty. I’m was actually drowsy during the first half, but even half-asleep I was able to recognize the quality of what I was listening to. They did mostly use her ballads, as more suited to such treatment, but for an encore she did one of her faster songs the same way, and it worked really well on that too.
The only real problem with the concert, I suppose, was that the orchestra kind of out-performed her. They actually opened the concert before she came out by playing a suite from To Kill a Mockingbird, also arranged by Mendoza, which gave us a taste of both his ability and their own, and from there they just kept being flawless. She, for all her skill, simply couldn’t match them. Even more than possibly buying her album, I want to go see them perform somewhere. I wonder if they’re appearing at Wolf Trap again this summer….