Sunday, January 26, 2014

Meanwhile, in Real Life

I'm sorry I've managed to slip yet a third time. And on Burns Night, of all nights! You would think I'd have something rather appropriate to the season planned for that, and I did--but when I tried for an hour and a bit to get it to come together. . .it proved to be rather futile. I went to bed and (apropos to nothing) read The Return of the King instead. Then again, isn't it rather generally known that the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley?

This afternoon I went and saw some very splendid music--live. The group was the Sacramento Baroque Soloists, and the venue Rudolph Steiner College. The former are quite thoroughly a delight to watch and to listen to, the latter is, as far as I'm concerned, has accomplished the two main features of any acceptable concert location: a.) a hall small enough to make amplification unneccesary, b.) a garden to walk in during the interval. Well, I had not set the second criteria before I attended a concert (by the same group, in fact) in the same location back in October, but thirty-seconds' acquaintance with such an amenity is a strong persuader. There are some ornamental plants scattered throughout, but the garden is largely utilitarian, though none the less peaceful for that. It is terribly pleasant to come out into the silence to savour the eddies of cello and harpsichord that are still whirling about in your mind and walk among evidence of careful husbandry; there is art in gardening, no less.

Today's concert was the yearly cello feature that the Sacramento Baroque Soloists perform, so the instrumentation was minimal; a cello, an organ, and a theorbo; the organist and the theorboist (that's less stuttery if you say it aloud) doubled on harpsichord and guitar, respectively. You've probably gathered that I'm fond of small ensembles, of baroque music, and period instruments, not to mention cellos in general, so I was very much predisposed to like it, and I very much did. I like the ephemeral quality of a live performance, something rather akin to a good sunset, or the smell of rain about you; you can't capture it all in even the most carefully-chosen words. But "Vivaldi," is a pretty good word, under the circumstances, and "Gabrielli," and, most impressively, "Barriere."

That said (and said, and said!) alas, I can't very well show you what I heard today--and even if I did, well, there's still the garden to take into account. But the group does have a website with audio of some past performances.

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