Saturday, June 18, 2011

On Friday I Relaxed

I took a more leisurely day on Friday. I slept in, did some computer work, did an extra-long workout at the gym downstairs (I even tried a treadmill, and I did not lose control and slam my chin into the control panels, as my overactive imagination kept suggesting I would), and took my time getting ready to go to the symphony. I love leisurely dressing up to go out to a performance, although I did miss my vanity (the table, I mean, not the virtue).

Form met function when it came to my footwear for the event. The sandals really were the best shoes for my "nice" traveling outfit, so I taped up my toes with Band-Aids and medical tape and went with the better-looking option. I also opted to take the free shuttle from the metro stop.

I arrived just as Jason was getting out of a cab (he came straight from work), and we went upstairs to the KC Cafe. It was insanely busy! Jason was aghast at the number of people. We navigated the chaos and each got a stromboli. I had wanted to eat at the Kennedy Center for the experience, and while the view from the terrace outside is outstanding, the food is overpriced and under-qualified.

When the time came, we picked up our tickets from Will Call and went into the concert hall. It's exactly what the concert hall should be, and the National Symphony Orchestra did a marvelous job. I am a fan now of their guest conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy (or, as I kept thinking of him, "Bilbo Baggins").

The first act was two pieces by Walton, the second of which featured cellist Steven Isserlis. He was certainly a character, playing with such enthusiasm that I wondered if he would rock himself right off the small platform he was elevated on. The pieces were fine, but they were outshined by the NSO's performance of Shostakovitch's Tenth Symphony in the second half. I do love Shostakovitch's music; it's so emotive. During the second movement, the "musical portrait" of Stalin, I wondered what Shostakovitch would have written had he not been born where and when he was. His music is so definitely Russian. I also love reading about the musical coded riddle in the symphony. But then, as you know, I'm a nerd for clever language play like that.

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