Last week was busier than I like. I can tolerate going out about once a week, and I was busy every single day last week, due to a rare alignment of regularly-scheduled events (yoga class, cello rehearsal) and occasional, random cultural events (theater subscription, concert subscription 1, concert subscription 2, interesting concert 3).
On Monday, we (my wife and I) watched a performance of Anna Karenina at the Volkstheater in Vienna. Although I was familiar with the story, I found it very hard to understand the actors. It was a good production, the Volkstheater is generally a safe bet since Michael Schottenberg took over there as manager, we’ve been fans of his for decades. I slept very little, although I get up pretty early in the morning.
Tuesday I had yoga class. I slept very little.
Wednesday we went to the Beriosaal at the Konzerthaus for a live performance by the ensemble Phace of a new musical piece composed by American composer Gene Coleman to the 1926 Japanese silent film A Page of Madness, using both Western and Japanese instruments, if there can be said to be such categories. It was very good and I slept very little.
On Thursday we watched Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Grosser Saal of the Konzerthaus, performed by the Collegium Vocale Gent / Herreweghe. They were very good, the orchestra played period instruments (I noticed Baroque celli and a viola da gamba – which had a wonderful solo). It is interesting to observe how the crowd varies from event to event. It can be youngish/middle-aged and snooty but trying to appearcounter-culture, or old and cultured and somehow less snooty, and so on. The Bach crowd struck me as quite elderly and generally well-to-do or at least well-dressed (there was a lot of jewelry on display, though), quite slender in general, and very slow-moving until the concert was over, at which time they were t the coatcheck very quickly.
Friday’s event was the most interesting for me – there is a series in the town of Krems called Imago Dei, concerts in the Minoritenkirche there. We watched a performance by cellist/composer Frances-Marie Uitti, the ensemble Extracello, and Buddhist monks; the event consisted of a Buddhist Puja ceremony (ceremony to honor the creative spirit?) and composition(s) by Uitti. For this performance, Extracello tuned (according to the program) their cellos to unconventional tunings, and played primarily open strings and flageolets (which resonate longer than when you are fingering the strings), and Uitti is famous for playing with two bows in one hand. I expected her to do that to be able to play all 4 strings at once, but she somehow manages to coordinate the two bows in unexpected ways and it was quite fascinating.
For your viewing pleasure, I will include a few Uitti links here:
It was an interesting week, but it was too much for me and I will be digesting this for some time to come. A lot of images and ideas were poured into my head while I was in a trance state this week, as if the creative spirit unscrewed the top of my head and poured in a basket of bees, which now fly through my mouth and make honey in the empty spaces inside.
(PS: as you can see in the videos, Uitti has an ALUMINUM CELLO from the 1920s. With an awesome dent.)