I drove east, slower than a storm


Water and shadow hanging from the sky make fairy lights, fuzzed and reflected. When one is navigator one must not enjoy them too much, or stray from the safe path.

I have been feeling wiped out recently. Just had my first classes back at university last week and the library has been calling me in for a lot of last minute shifts. Only taking one unit this semester, an introductory programming elective, but still finding merely being back in school while working stressful.

Anyway, went to my first concert this afternoon, a short, free affair presented by the radio station I mostly listen to (If you want to listen, the recorded live stream is still available). The performers were ARCO Chamber Orchestra with soloists Kent McIntosh (tenor) and Euan Harvey (horn). I took a seat near the front because I thought it might be interesting to have a good view of the performers.

The first piece performed was Arvo Pärt's Fratres, which reminded me of The Unanswered Question [1]by Charles Ives. Although the whole concert was a bit quiet and mournful (not always either of those).

The second piece was Benjamin Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. I know I've never been to a concert before, but even more so I'd not seen a vocal soloist. I found the whole thing almost incomprehensible. Vicarious anxiety because as a singer there would be no instrument between me and the audience. Also, surprised at how much of his performance came through his whole body, and how expressive his face was when singing, and how loud he managed to be. As for the actual piece, I think for me the highlights were the middle movements. Both the soloists were impressive, but I really was not prepared for what that sort of performance involves.

The third piece was Arvo Pärt's Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (this performance seems to lack the bell, as far as I could hear), which I always find beautifully melancholy to hear. I think I learned a lot watching these pieces performed, a lot to associate between sounds I hear in music and what performers actually do to produce those sounds.

The final piece was composed by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin (one of my favourite living composers), For Richard, in honour of violinist Richard Pollett who recently passed away. I have not found any example online to link, but musically it was the highlight of the concert for me. Electric. I recommend listening to the stream linked above for it. Am listening again now, still finding it amazing.

[1] Not linking a performance of Fratres because I couldn't find one with approximately the same instrumentation.