There was a chamber recital somewhere in Howard County yesterday afternoon. I left at intermission after assessing that a certain distraction threatened to continue in the second half.
Seriously, part of me wants to give up going to live concerts and just hide at home with my CD collection and cat. Well, we'll see... Meanwhile, once I was back at home yesterday, the cat and I had a small Villa-Lobos festival -- the Choros Nos. 8 and 9 played by the Hong Kong Philharmonic on Naxos and the Uirapuru ballet, the Brazilian's answer to Stravinsky's Firebird, in the Delos label's Latin American Masterworks series. I let that CD continue on to Mexican composer Cesar Chavez's Horsepower ballet. Later in the evening, we had Dvorak's Noon-Day Witch in the collection of that composer's tone poems by Jarvi and the Royal Scottish on Chandos. Yes, I could stay home and do this, but...
...Handel's Chaconne with 21 variations transcribed for guitar duo in the first half of yesterday afternoon's concert was fantastic. Fortunately, it was one work not audibly marred from where I was sitting by intrusive noises from the distraction. I'm looking for a recording of the original harpsichord setting, but I can imagine this being played by full modern symphony orchestra, as has been done so wonderfully with other Baroque works.
I have photos to post and maybe some movie comments as usual, but I must stop here to say good-bye to a fellow blogger in the Howard County blogging community. Dennis Lane, or Wordbones as he is known on his blog, Tales of Two Cities, was killed in a senseless crime at his home some time before dawn yesterday, not very long after making another post on his brilliant blog. I'm shocked, as is everyone who writes or reads on Hocoblogs. I always glance at the Hocoblogs page to visit other blogs and see what's going on, but I had been keeping Tales of Two Cities in my blog roll here, because Mr. Wordbones had such a keen grasp of local affairs. I also admired his sharp, glimpse-of-my-world photos.
That's all I can say right now. This is a tragedy for our community, and Dennis Lane and those affected by the crime will be in my thoughts.
There are more memorial posts and links to the horrible news on the Hocoblogs site in my margin links.
The Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum. Last Saturday was a great day as I took a break from my own gardening projects at home to make a long overdue visit to the Arboretum. This is one of the most fantastic places to see in the DC area. I seem to make it there once a year and plan in vain to make more frequent visits. This time made up for lost visits as I caught the azalea blossoms mostly at their peak and the annual Bonsai Festival.
What I've heard on the home CD player recently:
~ the two Chandos discs of orchestral music by Smetana with Noseda conducting the BBC Philharmonic
~ countertenor Philippe Jaroussky's Beata Vergine album on Virgin Classics
~ Malcolm Arnold's startling Symphony No. 7, part of the complete Arnold symphony cycle by conductor Andrew Penny and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland on Naxos
~ Beethoven's Razumovsky Quartet No. 1, part of the classic recordings of the middle and late quartets played by the Quartetto Italiano on Philips
Credit is due to the new movie, "A Late Quartet", for compelling me to return to exploring Beethoven's string quartets. (I've heard all of the quartets, but I have not heard them over again nearly enough.) Although I was put off by some soap opera banalities in the movie's plot, the movie was saved by the actors' performances and a moving conclusion. The winter photography of New York's Central Park is another strong point in the movie.