Sunday ended up being a very full, but also very enjoyable day. I almost missed it though. Saturday had been my "unplugged" day and I neglected to check my calendar on Sunday morning before going off to the 9 AM church service where I was scheduled to serve as a greeter. Note to self, even on "unplugged" days, it may be a good idea to at least check my online calendar, to confirm my obligations for the next day before going to bed. That is a small modification I can live with.
Luckily I did go home after church, where I promptly was reminded that I had a lunch engagement, a concert, and a party in the evening. I had about an hour to enjoy a second cup of coffee and do a little reading before heading out the door again. I decided that coffee and reading were more important than changing out of my church clothes, partly because I was wearing a favorite fall skirt, a skirt purchased simply because I loved the fabric, even though it is not really my colors, and altered to fit more than once in the last couple of years. Also partly because I still have this old-fashioned idea about looking nice for concerts, although it is not, for the most part shared by most concert-goers, most of whom are of my generation or older. The young, almost always dress up however, and I enjoy seeing the college students in their nice shirts (men) and sparkly dresses and heels.
Lunch consisted of a rather simple but memorable bowl of chicken soup, something I would like to try to duplicate. The soup was basically a clear broth, a generous amount of shredded chicken, and finely shredded scallions and green mango. The flavor was nicely rounded out with ginger, more than would be needed to be subtle, but less than would make the dish actually spicy. I suspect that will prove to be a tricky balance to achieve. Alas, as is usual I took no photos. I am still not particularly comfortable taking photos of my food in restaurants, although those around me seem to have no such scruples.
The chamber concert was very enjoyable, and admittedly more to my taste than the opening concert of the symphony season had been. The opening piece, Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture caught me by surprise somewhat as I tend to think of Mendelssohn's work as emphasizing beauty and melody over depth. The Overture is one of his early works, and it has the lightness and airiness I tend to associate with that period, but in this performance the undulating movement of the opening really captured my attention with a sense of space and presence that remained through the more tumultuous middle section, and settled perfectly into the quiet sense of reflection and awe in the closing notes. This music seemed to capture so fully this sense of wonder at perfection that has so captivated me this month as I am constantly being slowed and calmed by my perceptions of the sky around me. In the final moments of the Mendelssohn, I felt that same calmness, that same sense of perfection in the moment.
I also enjoyed the Weber Clarinet Concerto, a piece I know in my bones. It was not the most compelling performance I have ever heard, but that did not make the performance any less enjoyable. The clarinet solo was beautifully played by Victor Chávez with elegant phrasing and a richness that captured the song-like qualities of the melody. The soloist and the orchestra were also well matched and played well together, creating a sense of a conversation being conducted in song that made the piece very enjoyable.
Only the Schubert seemed to be a bit of a let down to me, although it seemed like it was the audience's favorite, based solely on the applause and comments around me. The 2nd Symphony always strikes me as a happy and cheerful piece, and it was, indeed a cheerful performance, luckily one which avoided the all too frequent tendency to make the work too sweet, too wrapped up in the youthful prettiness and innocence. Some of this was ameliorated by placing some emphasis on the obvious Beethovenian influences, but at the same time I felt the performance was tepid, without the budding dramatizations that Schubert was beginning to develop in these early symphonies, and at the same time lacking that haunting tenderness that also marks Schubert's work, both early and late.
Still, it was a good concert, and I left in good cheer, to head off to the opposite side of town to a party. It was particularly nice to spend time with a group of people after my musical interlude. Even though we did not speak of music, just chatting and socializing proved to create a good transitional space for mind to settle from the music back to "real" life, satisfying that social pull I always feel after a concert.
I had to make a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home from the party, where I snapped this photo of the clouds rolling in, a cloud cover that would later fill the sky and make local visibility impossible for those of us who wished to see the lunar eclipse. Oh well; it seemed like a perfect, if also perfectly exhausting, day anyway.