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jwg

some classical music concert musings

Tonight we went to Jordan Hall to hear the Emerson Quartet who performed two Dvořáks, the Ravel, and 6 Bagatelles by Webern. This quartet is in its 30th year and if they are all the original musicians which I think is true, they probably started pretty young. They are certainly good and have received lots of awards.

The second piece in the program was the Ravel (he only wrote one) and it is a wonderful piece. I am not a huge fan of chamber music but this is one of those that is always worth hearing. During the Ravel, the second violinist had to stop to retune because two pegs had slipped. As someone who was waiting in line for the men's room said - well, that was worth it since we got to hear that part twice.

After the intermission they played the Webern. These bagatelles are nothing like the Beethoven bagatelles some of which I've hacked through on the piano a few times. For this piece I mused that it wouldn't have mattered if two or more pegs had slipped. It was a pretty weird piece. I did like a couple of moments of it and the best thing about it was that it was short. Robert said that he only composed about 7 hours of music.

I said now back to some standard classical music like that of Elliott Carter. OK, this is a timely in joke - today on the radio we heard the BSO playing Carter's new piece: Interventions for orchestra and piano (its world premiere was on Thursday night). Carter turns 100 next week! In an interview he was asked about 12-tone music and he said - well I do use all 12 notes. His music is not very atonal compared to the Webern.

We sat in the balcony - front row near the center so we weren't very slanted as are the seats further to the side. Now the balcony in Jordan Hall has 5 aisles and 5 entrances but entrances 2 and 4 are to a small platform for handicapped seating so you can't get to the aisle. How they got this design past the fire inspectors is a good question. I did notice downstairs that some inspection certificates expired in June 2007. (Last year there was a poster advertising a concert that occurred two years before.) We were directed to the side aisle (my seat was Left A 47) but should have gone to the center aisle so we had to crawl over more people than necessary (we were early so the aisle wasn't full). I don't know why they label the seats this way and you'd think the ushers would know. Each doorway should be labeled (same for Symphony Hall) and the tickets could have the doorway id on them.
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