Friday, February 8, 2008

Symphonie Fantastique

Yesterday was a fun-filled day. Wiley and I went to La Hacienda, THE Mexican joint in town, to have a little hrana (that's food for you non-speakers) with our friend EC. She is running a marathon, her first, in May! Big goals, that one has. It's nice to talk to her, and she is a YOUNG whippersnapper - just turned 23! Being almost 31 myself, 23 is ages ago. After talking with her, Wiley and I ate some dessert at a little coffee shop with peach walls. I had creamy cake, of course; Wiley tried something new, as is his nature. This had tons of cream on top, and looked kinda like pudding; but when he tried it, he found it was a pear that had been filled with hazelnuts. It was actually pretty tasty. Then we killed some time in a bookstore and ended up getting Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, and Wiley got two sci-fi books. Books are the weakness of Wiley and me. I look forward to planting some roots so I can get a library card. I have LOTS of reading to do, thanks to all the blogs I'm reading that are recommending!

Afterward, I met up with the Prof, and we went to hear the Sarajevo symphony orchestra. The theater is beautiful - nice burgundy velvet drapes and gold marble - simply ornate, though the seats need just a bit more padding. It's a small orchestra for a city the size of Sarajevo, but they pack a punch. Having been a principal second violinist, I always watch the violins more than any other section, and the very first thing I noticed was that they didn't lead with their wrists, and it was a little unsettling to watch. I remember my professor telling me it was like painting, and ever since then, I've led with the wrist. After a time, some of them started leading - maybe it was stage fright that kept them locked up. They all had on black dresses with satin bows tied right under the bust - very sharp, but the fabric looked like jersey knit, so if you have a belly bulge, perhaps not the most flattering (but pretty much all of the women were svelte - they must know how to lay off the bread). The composer was from Greece and spoke very good English, and after he said something funny in English, many people laughed and didn't wait for the translation. The composer (I can't spell his name, but I will get the info and change it later) looked like Andre Agassi, so it was very easy to watch him. His main trait was that when he wanted the orchestra to increase their volume, he would plant his feet - kinda like Tom Hanks did in Apollo 13 right before they did their "manual burn" with the Earth as the focal point (oh, didn't see that huh? Well, tough noogies, you don't get to understand what I mean). It looked like he was ready to launch, and when he did, his coattails would separate, and you'd get a peek at a metal-studded belt. Oh, Europeans are so dapper.

We also had Rob Lowe as the principal bass player. I kid you not, Dear Reader, he's a dead wringer.

The works consisted of the conductor's father's piece, and then we heard Ravel's Mother Goose, Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, and a Brahms piece in E minor. The wind section was really good too - my seat was lined up with the principal bassoonist, and it was fun to watch his cheeks puff out to three times their size. Aside from the weather, which was rainy and then snowy, it was a lovely evening. I wish I had my camera with me - I could've gotten this great shot of a tree that was lit, next to a mosque, with the snow illuminated as it came down. But alas, I didn't bring my camera, so it'll live in my memory only.

So for you kids who are in Sarajevo who've never gone to hear the symphony, go! They're fantastic.

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