I haven’t posted in a few days, so I’ll have to do a good one.
I’ve been to some fantastic concerts in the past week. First, I saw Schoenberg’s opera Moses and Aron, which was really outstanding. Most of the people I was with really hated it, but I have a pretty good ear for serialism. I had an interesting conversation with Prentiss about Schoenberg’s contribution to aesthetics in music, and whether his impact in music was only in theory and composition, or if he really made music that was beautiful and that people enjoy listening to. I suppose that debate has been around for quite a while, but it’s exciting for me to get to see a work like this, and to have someone to speak intelligently with about it.
Then, on Friday night, I had the pleasure of seeing Pierre Boulez conduct the Vienna Philharmonic. This is as good as it gets. The concert was unbelievable, and the program was wonderful. He chose to conduct Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3, “Das Lied in der Nacht”, Debussy’s Jeux, and some of his own Notations. Boulez, considered probably the most important living musician, did not disappoint as a conductor. His subdued yet potent style really affected me, and clearly drove one of the best orchestras in the world to play difficult music beautifully. This was a great concert. I have tickets for next weekend to see him again, this time conducting Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Symphonies of Wind Instruments. To say the very least, my time here is being well spent.
After the Boulez concert, I went to an old jazz club called Jazzland. It was in the basement of an old building. There, I had some good beer and watched old Austrians play Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. On the wall, there were pictures of famous musicians that had played there. It was a pretty cool experience.
Tonight, I’m planning to go see Die Walküre. I’ll have to go pretty early to get in line for the standing room, but I feel like it’ll be worth it. I’ll need to get some work done today, though, before I can spend the whole night at the opera house.
Despite what you may think, I HAVE been doing some things that don’t involve music. Yesterday, I went to the Nachmarkt again, where I bought some olives, eggplant, pita, almonds, dried fruit, grapes, and a falafel sandwich. This week, I’ll be eating like a champion. In fact, I’m about to go make some pasta.
I haven’t done too many sightseeing things yet. I really would like to go to some art museums soon, and visit the graveyard where Beethoven et al. are buried. I’ll probably get to Salzburg sometime soon as well. I’ve never been one of the tourist types, but I’m going to try to figure out some things to do that don’t involve music or food.
I miss everyone in the US, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in a few months. Skype has been a great asset to me here, which I didn’t expect. I’ve also been chatting on Facebook quite a bit.
This blog has a spell-checker built into it, and it doesn’t recognize the words ‘serialism’ and ‘Facebook’. Maybe I need to find another website to run this blog!