Sunday, June 28, 2009

What I thought about at the Mozart concert

I have less stamina for museum-type things than hubby does, so yesterday I was wandering around a really delightful museum gift shop (I was being delighted, anyway - and also asking myself: why can I stand a gift shop longer than a museum? surely at least part of it is that I can handle the things, and I can sit down, - a lot of it is that I can handle the things and I can sit down - but it is also the fact that I know if I want to, I can buy it and take it home? does that make such a difference? - or do I just feel less pressure to ooh and aah? hard to say) and hubby called me on the phone to say he couldn't get into the Frauenkirche (lovely famous Dresden church) now because they were practicing for a concert, but did we want to come back for the concert itself at 8 p.m.?

Long story short, we did. I'm about as much of a classical-music goer as I am a museumgoer, but he said it was going to be short, and we were buying tickets at one entrance at about 2 minutes to 8 and had to go in another entrance and go up to the 5th level. But we got there, and I stole our seats back from the people who had nabbed them, and we sat - and could see nothing!

So we were alternately leaning way forward onto the balustrade, and standing up leaning back, and standing up leaning over the balustrade, and leaning back half-standing half-perched on the upturned seat (hubby more), and sitting down eyes closed seeing nothing, and then again leaning way forward from seated to see over but then tipping bifocals down (me) so it would be possible to see the musicians through the top half of the bifocals (the bottom part was useless for seeing them) - then I was afraid the glasses were going to go tumbling down to the level below.

Mozart. Can't tell you much more than that about the music. Soprano - lovely, wore different clothes. Most of the music sounded all the same. Quite lovely I suppose but the same over and over. A few times the soprano soloist did truly marvelous and surprising things, where listening to the music was pure pleasure. The rest of the time I was in various ways making the time go by.

The choir looked like they were standing in front of huge murals of big yellow schoolbuses. Given that we were inside this confection of pink, golden, and peach-hued Baroque church, though, I thought that was unlikely. Figured out my eyesight was flattening the vaguely schoolbus-colored bleachers they were standing on - there were a couple of unused rows behind them, and I made those into schoolbuses.

Hubby nudged me and through the glass doors high, high up over the musicians' heads, facing us and way above us even, there were tourists walking down steps from the bell tower. That happened a couple of times.

I looked around and tried to figure out how many of the concertgoers, like us, were tourists. Some were dressed very schlumpily. Probably tourists. All ages, all sizes, who knows.

The woman three to the right of me dropped something tremendously loudly. Local commotion in our part of the world. I was again glad I had managed not to let my glasses drop a few levels.

The choir members were matching in black robes with black folders and white music held in front of them. The chamber musicians were in black tuxedoes with white shirts (the men), whereas the women looked like they had a lot of leeway. (Not that many women, maybe two or three - aside from the soprano soloist and all the choir members.) The women got to have bare arms if they wanted to. One looked like she had a wild and crazy short pants outfit with long black stockings but I doubt it. Everybody, everything, black, but the soloist had a brown/white/black dress, strapless, completely different look. Oh, and one person (playing maybe a spinet harpsichord? just guessing) appeared - his/her ears seemed to be glinting so I deduced earrings and then that it was a woman - but then the person rose up somewhat and looked to be more of a man - but wearing completely different things than the other men.

Kettle drums in the corner. They didn't get played very often. 

I tried to remind myself that this music hadn't always existed. That somebody (OK, Mozart) wrote it at some point - that it was new and exciting and unknown. It felt (except for the cool and exciting things the soprano did all by herself a few times) worn, predictable, full of flurries and flourishes but that were somehow not exciting. Neither familiar enough to stir me and make me want to hum along and isn't this grand to hear the great old stuff again, nor different enough to make me perk up (but again, I'm not educated that way).

It sounded like they were singing in Lingala for part of the time. We didn't have a program at the time (I bought one at the end hoping for at least a little enlightenment).

I wondered what was keeping the people who came down those high-up steps out of the bell tower from falling down, down, down into the middle of the church floor many floors below, back before there were enormous panes of glass there.

I looked at my watch (OK, I don't have a watch - I looked at my cellphone, the ringer turned off) and the time went by. 

The seats were big and made of what seemed like fresh clean shiny Scandinavian wood - light and bright and very modern-seeming. Hubby pointed out the seat numbers engraved on the wooden balustrade in front of us were written in some olde font - 18th-century font or earlier (who knew). (Though, hubby notices, they used Phillips-head screws to screw in the planks on the floor - which was apparently not an option in the 17th or 18th century.)

After the concert we went down, down, down to the main level of the church and looked around. It wasn't like the big spread-out cathedrals with stained glass everywhere - very compact and contained and symmetrical on four sides, and inward-looking, and as I said pink and golden and peach-colored. And going up, up, up.

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