I like short concerts

March 14, 2008


Last night Mark and I went to hear the UCLA Philharmonia perform. The first half was Webern’s 6 Pieces for Orchestra followed by the Mahler “Songs of a Wayfarer.” The second half was the Beethoven Eroica. I was thrilled Mark agreed to my usual plan of staying for half the concert. I know the eroica symphony, have heard it too many times and agree students need to know it as well. But I’ve heard it enough. And the first half was a complete meal for me. My musical stomach is smaller these days. 45 minutes or less is just fine. Especially when one of them is a new work.

Part of my problem is a physical one that I share with my father: a very long torso. This makes sitting for long periods of time fatiguing to my back. Ditto opera, movies and long rides in planes, cars or trains. Sometimes I’ll take a naprosyn before sitting for a long period and that helps. It may just be a problem unique to professional musicians and music teachers. Music is special, and we want to keep it that way. Three cheers for short concerts!

During the concert a cricket sang along with the Webern. It actually kind of worked. I had heard complaints about our cricket from others, he does have a rather loud voice, but it gave a kind of calming feeling to the event.

[Photo: The White Door by Roger Bourland]

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Brad Wood March 15, 2008 at 2:07 am

In the second program of Pacific Serenades’ 1988 season, the home concert was at the futuristic abode of Stan Cornyn and Theadora Davitt-Cornyn. The commissioned work by Elaine Barkin, [be]coming together again, was performed by Marimolin, a violin/marimba duo.

During the Barkin, a large bird whose name I’ve forgotten began to sing along. It was actually quite delightful, and Elaine took it in characteristic stride. But Theadora decided, before long, to remove the animal to a better-insulated area.

I went looking for it at the intermission, and found it in one of the rooms. I went in, and keeping the respectful distance appropriate to large tropical birds, complimented it on its contribution to the concert.

The bird replied with a loud meow.

During the intermission, I

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