Thursday, September 08, 2005

Jack Knocks Them Dead

In the main concert hall, the New York Philharmonic is playing with Loren Mazel conducting. The crowd for that concert is dressed elegantly, the women in evening gowns, the men dressed in tuxedos or suits. People dress up for concerts in Europe.

We get to the hall about 7:15 for the 8:00 p.m. concert. The doors are not open yet. The foyer is very large and has several bars and restaurants where people can gather and eat and drink before going in for the concerts.

Chris had warned us that people dress up. We`re not wearing elegant, but I have on a sports coat and tie and Rosalee has a dark dress and sports some pearls. About as dressed up as we ever get. I figure the designer dresses are going to hear the New York Philharmonic. They don`t know Jack. Yet.

Rosalee and I find lounge chairs across from a nun in full traditional habit. I haven`t figured out whether she is going to the big concert or the important concert. At 7:30, the doors open and most of the well-dressed people enter the main concert hall. Rosalee, the nun and I go in the second room. It is fairly large, but is very stark. Everything is black; walls, ceiling, chairs, even hardwood floors. The ceiling is very high, maybe about 50 feet high. There are about 500 chairs set up, although the halls looks like it would hold half again that many. I worry that the audience is going to consist of the nun, Rosalee and me, and we will be swallowed up in that big room. But a steady stream of people come in. About 7:40, a handsome young bearded man, wearing a black suit, black shirt and white tie walks across the stage. It takes me a moment to realize that it`s Christopher, placing his music on the stand. He walks off. We don`t embarass him by cheering.

People keep coming in. I see Pierre Boulez sitting in the back. By 8:00 p.m., amazingly enough, most of the seats are taken. The chatter spontaneously quiets down a few minutes after 8:00. Then the cellist, Kevin, (who happens to be from Lancaster, PA) walks in, followed by John, the violist, Ari, the second violinist, Chris, the first violinist, and Helmut Lachenmann, the composer.

The audience applauds enthusiastically. Jack bows and then Chris gestures generously towards Lachenmann, who also takes a bow. Then Lachenmann starts talking, in German. I have no idea what he`s talking about, my vocabulary being pretty much limited to "pissoir." He keeps talking. And talking.

(Sorry to do this, folks, but my internet time is about to run out. I have to finish this tomorrow.)

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