Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Musical Weekend

We had a great couple of days this past weekend.  I will be honest, it felt great just to have a weekend.   The only downer is that Daylight Savings is now in effect in the U.S., which means we are 13 and 16 hours ahead of the East and West coast, instead of the sliiiightly more manageable 12 and 15.  Michael is sad because it makes watching U.S. sports even more difficult.

So what did we do this great, glorious weekend?  I got not one, but two, massages.  And, we listened to a lot of classical music.

First up were impromptu tickets from our very good friends here who generously offered tickets to the HK Philharmonic's "Siegfried Idyll" and "The Ring Without Words," conducted by Lorin Maazel. 

Wagner composed the Idyll when his lover (and then wife), Cosima, gave birth to his son, Siegfried on Christmas day in 1870.   The HK Philharmonic tried to get a little cute here with this piece - because the music was performed on the stairwell of the couple's home originally, the HK Phil decided to perform it on a set of stairs in the lobby of the Cultural Center.   It was an interesting set-up but not particularly effective.  Just because a stairwell is present in both performances does not mean that the effect achieved is the same.

Maazel created the Ring Without Words, a condensed, 70 minute piece (it felt more like 90 minutes though) from Wagner's Ring Cycle, the epic series of opera that runs for a total of 18 hours.  We had very good front row seats, and at that range it easily felt as though the music enveloped us.

That was Saturday.

On Sunday, we went to brunch at Metropolitain in Sai Ying Pun, and then in the evening to an "intimate" concert at the Asia Society with Joshua Bell, the acclaimed violinist, playing with Alessio Bax as pianist accompaniment.   They played the Greig concerto for piano and violin, a melodic Tchaikovsky "palate cleanser," and a more technical, virtuouso "wow" piece to showcase Bell's skills.  Bell is a great violinst but he is so full of himself that it almost (almost) overshadows his talent.  Still, I'm glad we went.

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