Saturday, December 8, 2007

Musician 1. "Can you play the Hallelujah Chorus?"

Musician 2. "I think I can Handel it!"
That's an old, widely under appreciated joke from Peanuts that even I was too embarrassed to tell last night despite the many opportune times that arose to tell it. I went with some friends to see Handel's Messiah performed by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Chorus and four soloist that you likely haven't heard of but are nonetheless extremely talented.
The performance took place at the Jack Singer Concert Hall, and it was my first time there. I certainly saw a different side to Calgary. The redneck side of Calgary is of course blatantly obvious, especially during Stampede as is the greedy oil industry side. Never before had I seen its cultural side so clearly. It was quite refreshing.
We were seated almost at the very back of the highest balcony yet the acoustics were such that it didn't matter too much. It would have been nice to be able to see the performers better yet I stilled enjoyed it immensely and I was close enough to observe several things that I enjoyed.
For one thing, I really enjoyed watching the Conductor. Ivars Taurins certainly gets involved in the music. I think I could have watched him the whole time and not be bored. Meghan said she actually saw him jump. I missed it but I don't doubt it for a second. I also enjoyed watching the counter tenor sing. It was strange to see a man singing yet in the high notes he sounded like a woman. I never knew that someone could have such a powerful falsetto with such an amazing range. But then again, I never listened to much of the Bee Gees. I liked how after each of the three parts the Conductor and Concertmaster, the first violinist, shook hands. I also liked how the Concertmaster's name is Cenek Vrba. I don't think there could be a more stereotypical name for a virtuoso violinist. There was another portly violinist that I enjoyed watching as well. With his long beard, and white hair he looked like I think professional classical musicians should look.
However, I think that my favourite person to watch was the oboist. He also had white hair and a moustache. He had a bit of a comb over but the tuft of hair that should be combed over was drifting off to the side in a rakish sort of Einstein-ish, eccentric genius look. He probably had at least as many bars of rest as actually playing time and while not playing it looked as though he was drifting off to sleep or would become otherwise engaged in activities that normally would be reserved for offstage. For example, I saw him checking his fingernails. I imagined in my head that all of the other members would be annoyed at him and always hoping that he would give some reason to be ejected from the symphony yet he happened to be such a musical genius, such an oboe virtuoso that he position was always guaranteed despite his offbeat mannerisms.
All in all it was definitely worthwhile. I would like to go to performances much more regularly and would encourage others to do so as well.

And that my friends, is a classic example on how one concludes a blog quickly due to dwindling interest in said blog.

1 comment:

PsySal said...

Oh, Eddie! I really like your blog =) This was really funny, maybe not so much the pun (hey, I can't help it, I live with you! I'm desensitized...) but the bit about the oboist especially.