Friday, October 30, 2009

Saw comedian Vidur Kapur. A competent stand-up comic. Not particularly memorable, pleasant enough.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

King's Chapel Bach on the organ, played by Malcolm Proud.

I was surprised to be so moved by the chorale Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier BWV 731. So sweet and beautifully crafted and played.

The Prelude & Fuge in E minor BWV 548 was engaging and interesting, too. Still a bit much for me to follow the whole thing, but cool to notice things going on at shorter time scales.

I missed some of the Byrd piece at the beginning, but it was interesting to notice how much was going on compositionally with the work, though he died 60 years before Bach was born.

I like these noon concerts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Went to the Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade. It was quite cool to see all the people out with their lanterns, making a ring around the pond. Also nice to meet and run into a couple people I know.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl at Lyric Stage in Boston

Went with Paul to see this (he liked another play he saw by Ruhl, and I thought the review looked good and like the last thing I saw at the Lyric Stage: Grey Gardens).

A fun, clever, sometimes dark play well-performed and -staged. As ridiculous as much of it was, it had the quality for me of keeping me wobbling between awareness of the artifice of the play, emotional engagement with the characters, and curiosity about what's meant to be "real" and "imagined" -- both in the play and in the world. Nice.
BSO Beethoven Symphonies 1, 2, 5 open rehearsal.

After listening to the Teaching Company's Symphonies of Beethoven course lectures on these symphonies in preparation for the BSO's series of all nine of them, it was nice to hear them with "new ears" of a sort.

I was particularly engrossed in No 2, particularly the first movement, as the program notes said it was like the introduction of a number of characters in a comic opera. It got me thinking about wanting to find or commission one or several works that introduce "characters" associated with different instruments, then have the characters interact (counterpoint) and change (variations?, harmony, elaboration) over the course of the piece.

Friday, October 16, 2009

BSO Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky et al

I particularly liked the Tchaikovsky Francesca da Rimini, and am looking forward to hearing more Tchaikovsky soon. The Stravinsky Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra was engaging, though I'd have to listen to it again, I think, to have a clearer idea of the program notes' assertion that the influence of Tchaikovsky is all of it.

The Martinu (Frescoes of Piero della Francesca) and Thomas (Helios Choros II) were missable. In particular, while there were a couple of engaging short moments in the Thomas, it repeatedly reminded me of my dislike and dismissiveness of recent "bleep-bop" art music -- that to me sounds like a series of pairs of pitch-harmony-timbre clusters coming helter skelter one after another. *sigh* Fortunately, the concert ended with the Tchaikovsky.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The last of the MFA classes "The Creative Eye" finished today. While it started out a little awkward with me arriving a couple minutes late and realizing I was both the only male and the only one under 50 (I think -- there may have been a woman or two in her 40s). Each week we spent about a half hour each at three works (still lives, landscapes, portraits, sculpture), spending a long time looking and sketching or writing and then talking about what we saw and a bit about the painting, the style, the artist, etc. A lovely class that has helped me see more. And I was quite impressed with the teacher, who I wasn't surprised to find out had done education work at the Met.

Friday, October 09, 2009

BSO Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich conducted by Vasily Petrenko

A fascinating concert for many reasons:

It was the first time I sat in the first balcony very close to the stage where I could see the conductor well from the side.

Vasiliy Petrenko was fascinating to watch: young, intense, authoritative without seeming imperious, gracious to the audience, and making more use of his face and body in more different ways than I remember seeing a conductor do before. I'd like to watch him again.

While none of the three pieces (Stravinsky Scherzo Fantastique, Rachmaninoff Isle of the Dead, and Shostakovich Symphony 10) really grabbed me, I enjoyed all of them. The standout for me was the Rachmaninoff (who I generally like) and the clear inspiration and relationship with the painting that matches the name of the piece.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Boston Philharmonic Brahms Violin Concerto in D Op. 77 and Dvorak Symphony 7.

Went with Tim to this lovely concert in Sanders Theatre. The Violin concert was well-performed, but didn't grab me. The encore by Feng Ning was an impressive arrangement of a classical guitar piece.

I don't remember hearing the Dvorak Symphony 7 before, but I really liked it. I was also pleased that as Ben Zander was talking about the piece and having the orchestra play excerpts, I though "ooh, that sounds like Wagner", at which point he turned and said, "If you like that, come back for our Wagner concert next time."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Saw Paula Poundstone with Mark at the Wilbur Theater. Lots of fun. The most memorable for me was her talking about how awful she thought it would be to fell like your marriage was threatened by gay marriage. "Um, Honey, I'm not feeling close to you now that Patrice and Maureen are getting married."