The Retiree: January 22, 2014


Wife lost her composure when I announced that a mouse had run across the kitchen counter. It scrambled up the porcelain front of the oven and hid under the controls. Immediately everything stopped until we could catch the rascal. At one point I proposed that we name him and train him to be a pet. I even picked out a name for him: Franz Joseph Hiding. Wife would have none of that. So, with the aid of two sticky traps, a piece of cheese, a dab of peanut butter, an air rifle, and some cooking tongs, we were able to dispatch the intruder.
Thinking about Franz Joseph Haydn and other composers, I’m reminded of a recent concert of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra we attended. From time to time I like to bring Maple Lakers current on classy events such as that. Not to brag, but I think I bring a unique perspective that is uncommonly helpful to the culturally deprived.
Along those lines, I noted that Peteris Vasks’ Vox Amoris—I’m sure you’re familiar with that piece—has some long string passages that are soporific in nature. From my perspective on a mezzanine, I counted 14 people who were asleep, and one who appeared to be dead. Not even Pekka Kuusisto’s impassioned direction could keep everyone awake. My personal awareness was heightened by a quest to locate those sleepers in the audience, or the count could have gone easily to 15 and one.
The initial  concert piece, which primed people for the nap, was a Kata in Shotokan karate. That one was called Heian Nidan, and you know what that means. Don't you?
After the intermission, when a number of people recaffeinated, we were thrown into a classical frenzy by Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 104, London, written in 1795. Some of us really dig that old stuff. Concert notes describe Fritz Joe’s (we feel really friendly toward Haydn) trips between London and Austria. The lights dimmed before I got current on those trips. The Esterhazy family, as you have doubtlessly heard, pumped a lot of cash into Haydn’s bank account. He must have had a Lear Jet to zip around Europe that way.
The house was packed with people, since the Minnesota Orchestra seemed determined to rid the area of classical music, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra was the only game in town. Maybe the Minnesota group needs a new stadium, even though their old one is refurbished. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The next concert on our cheap tickets won’t come for a few months, and with Franz Joseph Hiding having taken a dirt bath, there won’t be much culture coming from me for a while. You may have to resort to old Whoopee John records for music.