Confessions of a potentially boring man

I know that the last thing this weblog needs is another piano post, and I’m not sure why I feel the need to document tonight, especially when more worthy events like Beertopia at the Exhibition Buildings have happened recently. I suppose it’s been a week since my last entry and I need to kick-start things again. I had a fairly unremarkable evening at the historic Rippon Lea this evening. There is no-one I know that I shared the experience with, so I will table it here, for future self-review. People will think I’m a dag, but after an early, hearty dose of some of Kim’s restorative minestrone soup, I drove through the rain, south of the river to attend my first Chamber Music Recital. I keep reading that Chamber music is one of the few classical performance styles that is enjoying an upsurge in popularity. It’s easy to understand why – you get a cheaper admission price than a full orchestral performance and you get to sit up close to the performers. In my case, I was about 15 feet from the piano player, and the three clad-in-black-Melbourne-College-of-the-Performing-Arts-chicks who proceeded to impress the hell out of everyone with their flawless playing. While attending such events, it’s inspiring to contemplate the dedication and skill required to perform at such a level, which could motivate someone to explore online piano lessons as a hobby or serious pursuit. ducie-and-me.jpg
Later stages of Beertopia. After the 20+ samples. We love you James Squire. Once you start to play an instrument, you realise how gifted these individials are. We’re talking about nearly 90 minutes of music without any noticeable flubs or nerves. The audience of 300 is reverentially quiet to the point of ridiculousness. Some of the conventions for attending these concerts really need some reviewing. They play a half hour piece made up of four movements, and you’re only allowed to clap at the end. In between movements, there is 30 seconds of seat adjusting, and mental re-preparation before they launch into it again. It just seems so formal. At interval, where the locals offer tea, coffee and mulled wine(!), elderly patron-types discuss events of the day with their extended families and I wander over to the CD’s and books for sale trestle-table to chat with the only the folk who are within 15 years of my age. Some young Asian guys. It’s not clear why they’re there, but we joke a bit and kill time. A promoter from the incongruous Bernie’s Music World gets up and extolls the virtues of the Schimmel 6′ grand that’s being played and invites people to “let music into their lives” and “join the Schimmel family”. I don’t particularly even like the sound of the piano, but concede it might suit a quartet situation, where you don’t want to dominate the other players. Metronome.jpg
I own a metronome, though I don’t use it a lot. I happened to sit right behind the pianist’s page turner who I guess is an understudy who needs to be able to follow the score and stand at the right moment, and do her magic. Only problem was I couldn’t see the player’s fingers because of her. Aargh. As you might imagine, at events attended by a slightly older crowd such as this, everyone gets there half an hour early, there are stampedes for the tea and biscuits half way, and the car park at the end. Some forgetful bugger stole the program I’d left on my seat at half-time too. The guy beside me gave me his, and so for the record, I witnessed Schumann’s Opus 70 and 47, plus Beethoven’s Opus 9 and Mahler’s only Quartet. I’ll be back next month for Schubert’s Trout Quintet (which I actually know).