27 July 2017

Wagner on the Charles

“Start smaller:  Carpe meridiem.”
Porridger’s Almanack (Breakfast of Ganglions)

It is all too seldom that I spend a pleasant summer’s evening on the banks of the Charles.  So last night’s concert at the Hatch Shell by the Mercury Orchestra was a welcome occasion.  The lion’s share of the program was a kind of concert suite ‘condensation’ of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.  I have what is very likely an excellent recording of the full opera, but I have not yet sat down to a proper listen.  Back in my school days, the Rutherford Community Band (IIRC) played a band transcription, not of the Prelude per se, but of a medley of the best-known tunes which might serve as a “poor man’s Overture”;  so I’ve mostly been positively inclined to the work.  The performance last night was thus enlightening – we might almost say, in hindsight, that it was just the experience I have been waiting for, as any opportunity to hear the music live is almost invariably a plus, for me – as well as thoroughly enjoyable.  During the Preislied there was the additional counterpoint of a siren screaming, as an ambulance hurried along Storrow Drive;  and my heart deeply sympathized with my fellow musicians.  Up in heaven, John Cage was smiling.

This morning’s shuffle in the car while I drove in to work:

  1. Fats Waller, “Hand Me Down My Walking-Cane”
  2. Jethro Tull, “Weathercock”
  3. Dvořák, Symphony #9 „Z nového světa” mvt iii. Molto vivace

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