Every year I go to Mostly Mozart with M and M, and this was scheduled for Tuesday. Meanwhile, I had an opportunity to get tickets at a discount, so also went last Saturday. The main attraction was the preconcert, Andrew Armstrong doing the piano version of "Pictures at an Exhibition" which I play (using the term "play" loosely). Seating was open, and I found a space in the front row to the left of the piano. Excellent!
My real seat was in row Y too far to the right to see the piano. The program, conducted by the energetic Louis Langree, started with Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin" (orchestra version), which I really like, especially the first and last movements (once used as a theme for an NYC classical music radio show - anyone remember this? Google isn't finding it). Then Benedetto Lupo smoothly soloing in Mozart's piano concerto No. 18. The second half was a Faure suite and Mozart symphony.
Part of our preconcert tradition is eating at Dallas BBQ on 72nd St. However, M had passed by a few days before and found the place closed by the Department of Health. Oh no, my favorite restaurant! Instead we went to the Elite Cafe on Columbus, which was adequate but nothing special. I shouldn't have ordered rigatoni with chicken and zucchini, since it did not have the cheese quantity I desire in Italian dishes. (The DOH site says BBQ's open again.)
The guys waited while I mailed books at the nearby P.O. (yay, no line), and then we moseyed around B&N without buying anything. I went to the B&N ladies' room and didn't see the guys when I came out, so went to Avery Fisher as I had my ticket. Turns out we somehow missed each other and they had been waiting for me. After realizing I wasn't taking that long to go, they arrived at the seats.
We had skipped the preconcert Shostakovitch string work. The conductor was Czech, Jiří Bělohlávek (had to cut and paste that name). The highlight was Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, with soloists Janine Jansen (Dutch) and Maxim Rysanov (Ukraine). I was distracted at first by Jansen's spectacular black and white dress (can't find a picture - it's not the one coming up on Google Images). Her playing was good, too. Rysanov was also spiffy in a long black coat with red stitching along the sleeves. After the intermission was a good performance of Beethoven's 7th. Another satisfying concert.
The next concert was completely different - Neil Diamond on Saturday. I've always known his songs, but haven't been a huge fan. Still, I had a last-minute opportunity to get tickets, and took it (H and N also went). The seats were great - directly to the left of the stage. I came prepared with noise-canceling headphones and did need them to put an edge on the LOUD sound. I only took them off to dance to "Cherry Cherry" (YouTube from another concert this week. Omigod, look at this one from 1976). (Update: YouTubes from my 8/16 show are now appearing, including some from a guy in our section. Looks like he was a row or 2 in front of us.)
There's a reason Neil (I feel we're on a first-name basis now) has been around so long - he really knows how to put on a show. His newer material was good, too. The audience (on the older side, though not as old as the classical audience) sang, danced, hooted, and had a great time with the "Jewish Elvis." Very satisfying. The tour continues, so catch him if you're at all into it.
Before blasting into the past at the concert, I got caught up looking at this site from the high school class ahead of mine. There were football game pictures - Kilties, cheerleaders. Is there any record of the majorettes? I looked through the photos and didn't see myself, though did see people I knew. 40 years ago, yikes. Also recent reunion pictures - to quote Ditto, "They've changed!" I wrote to the photog to see if he remembered taking pictures of the twirlers and he didn't realize there were twirlers. Story of our lives.
One book finished: "Colors Insulting to Nature" by Cintra Wilson. Liza Normal has a thirst for fame, nurtured by her mother Peppy. Peppy turns an old Bay Area firehouse into a theater, stages a hysterically campy production of "The Sound of Music," and things go downhill from there. Liza flees and participates in various late-20th-century West Coast crazes, and the family ends up in Vegas where perhaps they really belong. A strange and funny wild ride.
I had an ACPT nightmare where I forgot to write down my times, and this got me completely disoriented.