Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mozart, queues and the art of sleeping with eyes wide open...

Yesterday my mom and I went to the Wiener Musikverein. We've got an subscription of the Wiener Symphoniker orchestra. Last night was the first concert of the new season. It was Mozart and Mahler. I especially admired the conductor, Lothar Zagrosek, who stood in for Fabio Luisi on short notice. I didn't know him before but he did a great job.

If it says Mozart on the program, you can be sure of a) a sold out concert hall and b) massive applause and c) lots of Japanese students in the audience (no offence, they just seem to love Mozart above anything else!). The Serbian pianist Jasminka Stancul played really well and gave an impressive encore. Applause didn't seem to fade for like 15 minutes - she had to come back on stage 5 times.

I usually spend the first half of the concert fighting against my body's urgent desire to fall asleep. It's just the time between 7.30 PM and 8.30  PM... What saves me every time is the program booklet and the latest issue of their monthly magazine. Reading those also highly adds to my classical music education - you'd be surprised what I know...

(I also realized I missed several really great concerts in September: the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra from Moscow, conducted by V. Fedoseyev, played  Tchaikovsky's Violin Concert No.2 and Piano Concert No. 1 (2 of my all-time favourites by one of my all-time favourite composers) among other pieces and also works of Shostakovich whom I really love, too. Must have been the summer break - I am so out of date...)

After that we had the coffee break. Meaning I spent those 20 minutes first fighting my way through the masses to the coffee bar (why do people always have to gather/stand at the narrowest places, like doorways?!), getting my coffee - getting to the milk wasn't so easy though. Sometimes I wish I could drink black coffee, without anything. I spent the rest of the break standing in queue at - guess where?! - the toilet. As much as I love old buildings, they do lack infrastructure sometimes... (Really, one toilet for so many ladies?!)

And then Mahler started. I do love symphonies. And there were some great moments in that one. But Mahler (like Wagner and Bruckner) just never ends. Or so it seems. And I'm not getting the idea behind. It sounded to me like several independent pieces, just performed one of another (unlike the Russian symphonies for example or Beethoven. I always "feel" the story in it.). You could really feel the audience getting sleepy AND uneasy after a while. Like they were just waiting for the end. The lady next to me was snoring peacefully while my mom was fighting her cold. Running noses in a place like that can be very frustrating. There's a tiny break after each movement... It's always funny to see how many people have to cough, blow their nose, sneeze or clear their throats at the same moment... As if they had all been waiting for just that moment! Always makes me smile... At the end, the applause felt more like a relieve - compared to the franctic enthusiamn for Mozart and his piano concert. (And I have to confess I was happy to go home at 10PM!)

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