Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bet you know what I have been doing.....

I bet you know what I have been doing.  If you guessed weaving radio grill cloth, you're right!  As of just before I left for a night out--more of that later--I had woven more than I had had to cut off.  There are 42 feet woven on the loom right now.  The initial cloth that I cut off to correct the sleying flaw was just 37 feet.  I am being paid in feet although I have been paid nothing at all yet.

Yes, it IS tedious and I still have a lot left to do.  But I am over halfway there.  At 48 picks per inch it goes slowly.

But tonight I went to a concert by the Utah Symphony and that was lovely.  I went early to hear the guest conductor, Hugo Wolff talk a little about the program.  The concert began with Beethoven's Leonore Overture #3.  (When it was produced the opera became Fidelio, but this overture is not part of the opera so it retains the original name.)   I think it is hard to go wrong with Beethoven and certainly the players under Wolff's baton did a great job of it. I am always impressed by how skillfully Beethoven changes keys.  The overture starts with a nice, big chord and then descends changing to a minor key clueing us in that our hero has been imprisoned.  In the end he is saved by his faithful wife who dresses in drag to get him out.

The second piece was Saint-Saens' Concerto #1 for cello.  Our soloist was Pieter Wispelwey.  I had never heard this concerto and to my ear it sounded devilishly difficult.  Mr. Wispelwey made it seem easy.

If I hadn't known that this was Saint-Saens, I wouldn't have guessed he had written it.  It doesn't have what I think of as the S-S "sound".  That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it, I was just surprised.  What surprised me more was what I took to be the end of the first movement was actually the end of the piece.  I'd like to hear it again.

The final piece on the program was Symphony No. 2 by Charles Ives.  He wrote this as quite a young man and set it aside.  It wasn't performed for the first time until about fifty years after it was written.  It is a very American piece with snippets of American hymns, folk and patriotic songs incorporated into it.  It's fun to listen to and I found myself listening to see if I could identify the sources for much of what is in it.  I heard references to Brahms and Beethoven as well as Camptown Races, My Country is of Thee, Bringing in the Sheaves and of course Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.  There is a musical surprise at the very end that he added later:  the symphony ends with a loud, discordant chord that brought a ripple of laughter from the audience followed by vigorous applause.  It was the equivalent of a rude child's raspberry. 

It was a grand evening away from the loom.  I am going to a potluck tomorrow but other than that--and cooking what I am taking--I will be at the loom again.

Now it is past time for bed.  Tonight it is raining lightly although the temperature must be right at the freezing point.  It has been gloomy for several days.  We have had fog (from all the snow on the ground) and an inversion has trapped all the pollution produced in this bowl-shaped valley which has made it rather dreary and gray.  I am inside at the loom so at least I am not adding much to the air pollution we are experiencing (my gas furnace is 95%  efficient so it adds little).   I am hoping that the rain will make a good difference.

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