Recently, I had the pleasure of attending another wonderful concert at our local performing arts center.
We heard the Tchaikovsky St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra perform music by three composers; two of whom are among my very favorites, and one of whom is on my general favorites list. The last piece they played is one of my favorite pieces in the world.
They started of with Wagner. But not the demanding, imposing, Wagner who fires you up with The Ride of the Valkyries. Nay, the lush, heart-string pulling Wagner who wrote a Prelude to his opera that so beautifully meshes with the final piece from that opera that orchestras now play them together -- as one piece.
Prelude and Love Death from Tristan & Isolde
(You can listen to it -- it's 15 minutes long, and this version has the tell tale scratchiness underlying it that shows it was recorded from an LP, but it's still lovely).
Oddly, I found that there were places in this piece that foreshadowed the final piece of the night.
The second piece was Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 (which evidently was written, and even performed, before Piano Concerto No. 1). The pianist, Alexandre Pirojenko, was amazing.
The Washington Post says of him, "has the technical skills to do anything he wants with a piano; better yet, what he wants to do is sensitive, original, and brilliant." If the performance I saw was typical, I think they're right. I couldn't track down a you tube of the Beethoven piece, but here he is playing a bit of Rachmaninov.
Okay, SAW isn't exactly right. We sat in the choral balcony, behind the stage. It's a great place to HEAR the performance, but not so good to see -- especially (oddly) in the front row. Occasionally I'd lean forward across the sort of aisle between the front row and the rail, and peer over the rail, but even then you couldn't see much of the orchestra. That's okay, I wasn't there to see as much as to hear.
And not seeing meant that I could sit with my eyes closed, without feeling guilty about not watching raptly. Sometimes, I even do that ... just sit, raptly listening. But most of the time, my hands are busy. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I take knitting with me to hear live music. Currently, I've been toting along this pair of simple plain socks to most events. They're just simple stockinette (well, so far, we know about my capacity for endless stockinette), and that means that I can sit and knit, eyes closed, listening, while my fingers do their thing. Golf Pro likes it, because it means that my hands aren't trying to conduct, which evidently they do unelss they're otherwise occupied. I think it's pretty magical that my body can go on doing something as complex as knitting socks without watching. I'm working two socks at a time using the "magic loop" method, which means I have to change yarns mid "row" (before moving the loop). Even so, my fingers can do this without visual guidance.
The final piece is one of my most favorite in the world. Rimsy Korsakov's Sheherezade. I'm not sure, but I think I may owe a debt of gratitude to one Goeffrey Thursby (I know he shared Lt. Kije with me; I think he may also have introduced me to Scheherazade). The concert notes say that Rimsy Korsakov considers this peice to be free from Wagner's influence, but I know that I heard things in Prelude and Love Death that were echoed in passages from Scheherazade.
This passage isn't one of them, but I figured if I was sharing music, I may as well keep it up :-)
Last night, while knitting in the balcony, I was working on a pair of socks for Golf Pro.
At the end of the evening, I had him try on the toes, just to double check how much further I had to go before starting the next phase in their shaping. One would think that by now, I'd just know... but these socks are in a much finer gauge than previous pairs, and I've long since learned that when you change the gauge, you change not only horizontal stretchiness, but vertical stretchiness, so I checked before shaping. I learned that my husbands feet are just the right length that my forearm is a perfect measure for how long the foot should be before I start increasing for the gusset/heel dance. (I think that's pretty magical).