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