Sunday, 18 March 2007

I got me some culture

With the aim of making the most of Cologne before we become overwhelmed by nappy changing and night feeds, Simon and I popped along to an evening at the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra.

I’d never been to a classical concert before but I wanted the experience. On the itinerary? – pieces by Adams, Barber and Dvorák – out of whom I could only really claim slight knowledge of the latter.

To make the most of the experience we’d purchased seats near the front. The orchestra was arranged on a raised circular stage, slightly above the front row. In the first half of the performance a massive Steinway piano had been placed at the front of the stage. So, for the first half I had a really good view looking up at the feet of the piano and the feet of the concert pianist. From my vantage point I learned that male members of the orchestra have unfeasibly shiny shoes. Through the legs of the piano I could see the lower half of the conductor. He bounced a lot on his little platform– he was almost dancing. You don’t appreciate that on the telly. You notice the wildly gesticulating arms (and, if you’re me, you mock them), but you never really look at what the feet and legs are doing. It was very educational.

The conductor and the concert pianist both ran with sweat at the sheer physical effort of their performance. (We were so close to them that I could see little droplets of sweat flying into the air and was slightly concerned about some heading my way.)

For the second half they removed the piano, which meant that I was face to face with the full orchestra. This was much better. Being in such close proximity brings a great appreciation for the skill involved. For example, one of the percussionists played a short solo on a block of sandpaper – and made it sound rhythmic and meaningful. At times baby H joined in with the rhythm by kicking me in the ribs.

I really enjoyed my grown-up evening. The Dvorák was especially good. I came away with a huge amount of respect for the musicians and the talent of the conductor in bringing them altogether.

1 comment:

Ali & Dave said...

You will have to add 'culture vulture' (you and Simon) to the African Goose on your new bird species list.

Sounds very civilised, sure a baby will put pay to all of that!