Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Cultural Challenge

I listen to, and enjoy, most types of music, but for some reason classical is close to the bottom of my list of preferred genres.  Every once in a while, though, Hubby Tony and I like to do something completely different. Last night was one of them, when we attended a performance of the St. Louis Symphony.

Our night started early and had three distinct parts.  After parking the car close to the symphony hall, we walked a couple of blocks to St. Louis University's St. Francis Xavier (College) Church for mass. Unfortunately, the beautiful sanctuary of the English Gothic church was closed, and signs directed us to a temporary location in the downstairs ballroom. Despite the utilitarian setting the liturgy was inspiring.

Next, we walked a couple blocks in a different direction for dinner. Our first choice of restaurants had a long waiting list, so we went a little farther and got a table at a sports bar. My grilled chicken sandwich with french fries was simple, but perfectly cooked, and Tony's large salad and cup of chili looked great.

After dinner we walked back to Powell Symphony Hall, where we stopped by the Will Call office to pick up our tickets.  We arrived early enough to hear the end of the music director's commentary.  After that was over we staying in our seats, watching the auditorium fill up.  The evening's program was unique, and a first for St. Louis-a performance of Des canyons aux √©toiles... (From the canyons to the stars...) by Olivier Messiaen. 

This work (which had been commissioned for the U.S. bicentennial) was inspired by Messiaen's trips to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.  In addition to the musical performance, last night we got to watch images of nature projected on a large screen behind the orchestra.  It was interesting, but maybe too avant garde for orchestral rookies like Tony and me.

The piece was divided into twelve movements. Some of them were melodic and simple, but others were dense and complex. There was a lot of percussion and unusual rhythms, and long periods of silence between the movements.  Even though I didn't understand everything that was going on musically, I'm glad I went. It's always good to challenge yourself.

Five years ago today: The Winter Zoo

10 comments:

  1. For two or three years I dated a fellow who was a classical music only kind of guy. I still don't recall anything he told me, and it was a lot. Somehow there is no place in my brain that collects that information.
    Sounds like you had a lovely Plan B evening.

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    1. An interesting description of brain information segmentation. Yes, our evening was lovely overall.

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  2. Sounds like a fun evening out anyway! It is good to broaden one's horizons.

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  3. I enjoy classical music but generally prefer the old-time composers like Bach and Mozart. Once my husband and I were at a performance of a modern classical piece which we didn't like at all. After the lights went up we discussed all the things we hated about the piece - only to discover that the composer was sitting right in front of us. Awkward....

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  4. I like many classical pieces but prefer hard rock, blues, jazz, pop and bluegrass.

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    1. I like all the same genres as you, but would also add singer-songwriter music.

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  5. Sounds pretty cool to me. It has been SO long since I've been to the Powell.

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    1. Tony and I have been on dates at Powell, but neither one of us could remember just how long ago it was.

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