Tag: Music

A Muscular Four Seasons

| May 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Sarah ChangVivaldi’s Four Seasons is one of the world’s most familiar classical music pieces.  Everyone recognizes the various movements from movies and popular culture.  But I expect that few really know what they are listening to.  So, it was a pleasure to hear the entire work last night at the Strathmore,, start to finish, including all four concertos and twelve movements.

But first, we heard a much more obscure piece.  It was called Metamorphosen by Richard Strauss, a German.  It was composed in the 1940’s and was some sort of commentary on Hitler and the Nazis, thus not exactly uplifting.   Expecting the liveliness and accessibility of the Four Seasons, my wife Rita thought we’d wandered into the wrong concert.  Frankly, it was pretty tedious.

After the intermission, we were in more familiar territory.  We were given a very helpful “cheat sheet,” that explained how the music related to each season.  While very literal, it was delightful.  The star soloist was Sarah Chang, a Korean American virtuoso.  I was most struck by her confidence and aggressiveness.  Maybe it’s typical of musicians at that level, but she played with great power and, of course, didn’t miss a note on a piece of which most people in the audience probably knew every note.  She was amazing. I was actually looking forward to the encore where violin soloist generally cut loose.  Sadly, there was no encore, even after three curtain calls.

The evening also reminded me what a treasure the Strathmore Music Center is.  It is a beautiful facility and extremely convenient.  They don’t even charge for parking.  And no traffic jam at the end.  I was in my home 15 minutes after leaving my seat.  Gotto go back soon.

A Day in London

| October 28, 2012 | 0 Comments

I travelled to Europe yesterday for a series of presentations on the presidential election. I’ll be keeping an online diary over the next week for my stops in London, Brussels and Amsterdam.

The Flight

The flight to London was unevental except for a major scare at the outset that had nothing to do with flying. My laptop, on which resides the final version of my presentation, crashed and began issuing me scrary messaages. The last time this happened, a week ago, it took me 2 days to get my data back. If I’ve lost the presentation, life is going to be very difficult when I land. So, I stashed the laptop away and prayed. Fortunately, the problem seemed to go away when I logged back in at my hotel. I immediately saved the presentation in a Lockbox folder. Whew.

The Hotel

I’m staying at the Radisson Blu in Covent Gardens. Each of the 3 or 4 times I’ve come to London, I’ve stayed in Covent Gardens. It is one of my favorite places in the world, waling distance to the West End for plays, Trafalgar Square for iconic London and St. Martin in the Fields, my single favorite stop in the city. I have not stayed in a Radisson in probably 15 years since a horrific night in Binghampton, NY, when the fire alarm went off 3 times over the course of the night. My son, Danny, who was 7 at the time, was traumatized. We vowed never to stay in a Radisson again.

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