Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Cold November Day at the Phantom Recital Hall

The Halloween festivities are behind us, and we're all grateful for an extra hour of sleep last night. (I know I am!) It's an uncharacteristically cold and windy day today, and searching for something to do, we find there's a student recital at the music school. Tickets are cheap and available; why not go?

We quickly get ourselves together; nothing fancy, just make sure your hair is combed and your clothes clean. Warm coats make their season debut, and we arrive at the venue just in time.

Dimitri Shostakovitch was a 20th-century composer who often had difficulties with the Soviet censors for his use of "decadent" modern styles but who eventually was recognized as one of the greatest of all time. This particular work, complete in 1970, was one of the first Russian works that called for the players to tap the bodies of their instruments with their bows...which has struck some listener's ears as sounding like rattling bones. There is something undeniably remote and eerie about this work, one of the more interesting in the canon of classical quartets.

We return to the cold and wind outside; it's still slightly early, so we'll go home to a light, home-cooked dinner, a refreshing comfort after too many meals out and too much party fare. But something about the rattling bones and remoteness of the violins sticks with us...

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