19 January, 2009

A very splendid Saturday night...

On Saturday two DC girls got dressed up and went to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

They saw this young man conducting. The Orchestra did three songs. Ballet in Three Deals by Igor Stravinsky, A Haunted Landscape by George Crumb, and Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninoff. For Piano Concerto No. 3, an incredible number lasting 44 minutes, pianist Leif Ove Andsnes joined the NSO on stage.

Now I have to admit that I am not a classical music connoisseur. I can't identify a number of instruments on the stage and I have no idea what movements are or tempos or, really, what the conductor does (just being honest). But like most things: books, coffee, wine, art, etc. if I like it I know it. It doesn't have to come in pretty wrapping, or cost a lot of money, or actually, if it is any of those things (expensive, overdone, etc.) I probably won't like it because I know that there is probably something comparable (or better) for cheaper.

All that to say - the concert was amazing. A Haunted Landscape was well done. I actually felt chills and expected something to happen. A scary movie played out in my overactive imagination. Which as the piece continued turned into an argument between a couple on their last leg. He had done something to betray her, and they had it out in her apt., she leaves to clear her head and ponder their relationship. Towards the end of the piece there are hints of hope, quickly replaced by a ominous piano struck from inside the instrument.

I have often said the worse thing that could happen to me would to be to go deaf. I love music, I do. I love noise and laughter and music and conversation. I study/write/sit with music/sound for background noise. I don't have to know what's going on, but the sounds are comforting. To live in silence, or to live in my head, would be awful. So, while I can't tell you a lot of the technical merit of the evening, I can report it was fabulous. Actually, I am glad I can't judge the night on its technical merits, just like I am thankful I can look at a piece of art and appreciate it (or not) for what it is without being bogged down in technique and the symbolism of color and the movements of its time...

The last time I saw the NSO it was in 07 and they did a night of fun music, making light of the sounds and joy their instruments could produce. It was a wonderful evening, full of laughter and artists enjoying their craft. They had a different conductor then, who, if I remember, was retiring at the end of the year.

I love the NSO. The person who gave me their tickets for the evening also had a pass to get into the lounge beside the theater. We arrived early and went and had a cup of coffee and then red wine. It was fun to get dressed up, to catch the bus in a skirt with heels, feeling splendid and like a million dollars. We sat in the plush chairs and drank our coffee and commented on the paintings and talked about Rwanda and the DRC (some things don't change). Before the show we made our way to the Israeli room (another lounge) and took in Ps. 151 on the ceiling.

Our box seats were amazing, the concert was great, the company divine.

A very splendid Saturday night...

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© Amanda Lunday