Auditorium ? Wow!

I don’t know what was wrong with me but I was vaguely bored last night, my own ignorant fault of course. Or maybe I was simply waiting for what I really wanted to hear. “Thus spake Zarathustra!” Of course it’s one of those popular pieces that everybody knows but not everybody knows whose it is. So here’s the lowdown.

Written by Nietsche in 1883/5 to delve into the eternal recurrence of the same, the death of god and the emergence of the ubermensch prophecy, themes to which he would return over and over again in various other writings and which led to some fatal misunderstandings by a certain other German. Apparently he stumbled on the idea while walking near Rapallo (some say Switzerland) but I say be careful where you walk! His declared intention was to find alternatives to repressive moral codes,and he was very “trendy” in the period in which existentialism made the underground headlines with young people wearing black sweaters in smoky French jazz dives back in the day.

In 1896 Richard Strauss wrote a tone poem of the same name, the introduction being variously interpreted as a creation or superman theme which is the most famous part but it is well worth your time to listen to the whole piece only around 30 minutes long with some parts seen as citations from liturgy.

Its life continued in 1968 in ” 2001 Space Odyssey” by Kubrick, adapted from Arthur Clarke’s book.. The 1968 film, as is usual for Kubrick, stirred up a hornets’ nest of argument. Rubbish or genius? In any case it is still much remembered, dare I say ,especially for its sound track.

Music, My Diary

Obstacle race to Beethoven

I really don’t mean to grumble all the time but needs must! This year my season ticket to the auditorium gave me the possibility to hear Beethoven’s ninth on New Year’s Eve. Lovely, until…I caught a glimpse out of the speeding train of the magic stop Duomo but we sped by! Where was the train going then? Where would it stop?and why? Well it stopped at the next stop Cordusio and I got off only to find that piazza Duomo had been cordoned off for security reasons as they were holding the New Year’s Eve concert there. Unfortunately not just the metro was out of bounds but so was the tram I needed and heaven knows where the taxis were hiding. I asked an official -looking person how to get to the auditorium and he told me go to piazza Missouri, “just tag along behind those 4 people because they’re going too”. No not clairvoyant, they had just asked him for the same I scurried along in their wake ,caught up with them and agreed that it was too far and too late to walk so they called a taxi. Of course when it eventually arrived it couldn’t take us all and although they kindly offered me a seat in it I could not decently accept to break up their group. So off I charged. Short legs, cold air, haste all combined to make things difficult. If only I had had more time! Anyway I trotted along thinking about what to do if I arrived late. Not very far before getting there there I caught up with a man who had overtaken me, he seemed some kind of official, to direct people to their destinations. Anyway, caution to the winds, trusting in my very un- frightening looks and in his not being a serial killer, I tapped on his car window and asked plaintively, if he could please take me to the autorium? No hesitation! He could, would and did. The difficult part was: what does one say? In the end a handshake sufficed. I was already reconciled with the world even before Claus Peter Flor’s wonderful rendering of the ninth! Happy New Year!

Music, My Diary

Traumatic concert,continued..

So we listened to a Chopin piano concerto performed by Boris Petrushansky Rusian-born but naturalized Italian; after the Chopin, Prokoviev’s Cinderella suite, composed for ballet. After the concert, back to the tram stop.There’s a certain ferment there, what’s up? A notice telling us rather tersely that there is no tram but a SUBSTITUTE. The very words strike fear into my heart. The well-informed tell me that the substitute is a bus because the troublesome line that made me late coming has finally given up the ghost and stopped completely. Now they tell us! Panicky, I don’t know Milan by day let alone by night with the usual fogged-up windows! Anyway, I started talking to a very nice couple, rather in a spirit-of-the- blitz style and the lady took me under her wing, told me to follow her, (gratitude to my saviour prevented me from being offended when she mistook my accent for German).The bus took us a very short way, we all piled off at another tram line which happily I remembered and in fact it took us to behind Duomo square. A quick stop to take a pic of the “madonnina” seemingly floating above the Duomo due to the fog, then down to the familiar underground.When I got to

Sesto the fog seemed much the same as before which was perfectly ok, it would probably be worse nearer home, we people who live in the sticks have to contend with bigger better worse weather than the townies! In fact nearer home there were fog banks which are more difficult to navigate, but I got home. I guess what I’m saying is never give up!

Music, My Diary

Back to Brahms

On Friday, the Auditorium as usual. It was a terrible rush because there was a strike and I had to get to the Underground stop before 6 pm. Only just made it.

The programme was entirely dedicated to Brahms, the third and the fourth and it drew a large audience. Judging by the applause everyone was thoroughly satisfied and went out into the drizzle quite contented!

Music, My Diary

Music and traffic

This Friday the traffic was  so bad I didn’t even manage to get to the auditorium in time. I only just arrived in time for the second half, after the interval. I believe there had been an accident on one of the roads leading into Milan. The problem is, that once you are on the road, you can’t get off!

I’m glad I went though because there was a fascinating performance of music by Gyorgy Kurtag, based on “What is the word” by Becket. The musicians were placed all around the theatre so the sound (and the silence) came from all sides. A very interesting experience. I notice that the public very often  gives “new” music a lukewarm reception. It does seem strange that we, men and women of the 21st century feel more affinity with the long dead rather than the still living.