The Retiree: June 11, 2014


åLucky you. It's culture time again. We went to a couple more concerts.
The first concert turned out to be a string quartet. We figured there would be about 30 more musicians than the four who showed up, so we were disappointed and left early. Not being fans of string quartets doing modern music had something to do with it.
The next concert was more to our liking. I counted 34 or 36 musicians. They moved around and were hard to count. There were enough performers to hold our interest, and the composers were dead, as they usually are when we like the music.
Haydn and Schubert were the featured composers, along with Barber, whose death was a lot more recent than the other two. We liked Barber's stuff, but not much. His piece was a violin solo done by Ruggero Allifranchini, who is a real good fiddler. In fact, Wife said she thought he broke a string toward the end of the piece, and he got through it just swell anyhow. He should have used a guitar, because they have more strings.
We think Daria was the name of the concertmaster for the day, because she was listed in the program as a regular, and the conductor shook her hand a lot. She had the pointiest black shoes in the bunch, another good sign, and knew just how to raise a foot from time to time. A couple times she even raised two feet. Her four-inch heels probably helped. And she tossed her hair.
Schubert's symphony was his #8 in B Minor, D. 759 – whatever that means – which is called Unfinished. Notes in the program said he didn't finish it because maybe he got tired of it, or he was sick, or he just wanted to be different. He died a few years after he wrote it. Of syphilis, of all things. In his early 30s. Seems to me, Beethoven had a problem like that, but was too crabby to die young. According to my copious research (one look-up), he possibly died from things like alcoholic cirrhosis, syphilis, hepatitis, or maybe even Whipple's disease, whatever that is. People weren't all healthy back then. But we still liked Schubert's stuff, regardless.
Haydn's piece was familiar to us culture freaks. It was his symphony #102, which didn't have a really neat name like Military or Clock or Drum Roll, as some of his his other stuff is called. You'd like it. We did.
Next year, the main concert hall for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will move to St. Paul. That move is logical, but far away. We'll have to see just how into this musical culture thing we are before we decide how much we can absorb. Maybe we'll switch cultures then. To drag races or zoos.