Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Date Night: Bruckner and Bagels

Dh and I don't get out much ... and when we do it's usually an hour here or there where we're doing errands or waiting on one of the kids or generally shoe-horning in some alone time. I'm not complaining or whining; when we do get a chance to really "go out", it's always a pleasure.

Saturday, March 21st, was such an evening, but surpassed all other times for the building of memories and friendships. Our good chaplain invited us to dinner and then on to the Kennedy Center to listen to Bruckner's 9th performed by the National Symphony Orchestra. Up until we were actually walking out the door ... I just didn't think I was actually going to the KC!

We had a scrumptious early dinner at Carrabba's Italian Grill -- with a nice strong cup of coffee to fight off the somnolent effect of the ribeye steak and green beans. Then we headed over to a friend of the good father's ... a violist for the NSO who has been playing for them for the past 25 seasons (after 10 years in Baltimore). The violist, his wife and adopted daughter are some of the nicest people we've met! And that little bundle of energy at 5-1/2 would be JUST perfect for BamBam!

After some small-talk, we headed to the Kennedy Center. We parked underneath the Performance Center and then headed back-stage for a quick tour before the Symphony. It was so cool to be able to see where the artists get ready, all the pictures of past guests, and generally revel in being able to live the life of the musicians if even for just 30 minutes!

The show started with a Mozart Piano Concerto (no 27) performed by Jonathan Biss -- a 28-year-old phenom who was so expressive with his music it was a delight to see and hear his performance. Only about half the orchestra accompanied him ... altho the concert master used a violin from the 1870s (on loan from the Library of Congress). What a wonderful opening.

After a short intermission -- with a quick meeting with Mr. D. to discuss the rights and wrongs of the performance -- we were treated to Bruckner's Symphony No. 9. We became acquainted with Bruckner's music while in Austria and my dh, especially, REALLY enjoys this style of music. Bruckner dedicated this "to my dear God" and the music soars to the heavens. It was amazing! He started this symphony in 1887, wrote the first three movements in 1894, but died before completing the fourth. He was a devout Catholic throughout his life and an amazing composer too often overlooked by those outside the Germanic countries.
The NSO does not have a permanent conductor, so relies on guest conductors. [Note: Mr. D. explained that they meet the conductor on Tuesday -- after practicing on their own before-hand; by Thursday, they are ready for a dress rehearsal and then performances all weekend! And they do this all the time when they're not touring!] For this performance, we were blessed to have Herbert Blomstedt, a veteran conductor who at 82-years-old was as energetic as any 40 or 50 year-old conductor. [As an aside, Blomstedt was the conductor for the San Francisco Symphony from 1985-1995]. And he held the dying note of the symphony ... the last part Bruckner left unfinished ... long enough for Mr. D. to finish his own viola playing with a Hail Mary! It was spectacular!

With the glow of the music still resounding in our souls, Mr. D., Father, and dh and I headed for some coffee and conversation -- although the men opted for decaf tea and bagels and conversation -- at a cute diner in Arlington.
What an evening -- and dh and I didn't get home until 12:40 ... a record for us!

What a night -- and guess what I'm getting dh for our 11th anniversary on the Feast of the Annuciation? This.


Debbie said...

What a wonderful evening! Great (early) way to celebrate your anniversary! I only wish we could've joined you...

Maryan said...

How fun Mary!