Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Week in Artsy, Poetry Update, Burrito Brothers

All in one week, I attended a creative writing group, went on an art tour, and saw the Seattle Symphony Orchestra at Benaroya Hall. Yes, I am quite cultured now, thank you. The Symphony tickets were courtesy of a relative who has season tickets but couldn’t make the show. Since concerts are a fortune these days and Mr. Typist and I don’t get out much, this was quite a treat. However, my knowledge of classical music is almost nil, and I was a little anxious about not knowing “how” to listen to it. It was hard for me to relax and let the music sweep me away emotionally. It may be that the music (Beethoven) was just more intellectual than emotional. Or maybe I was just too visually distracted by everything happening on the stage—the shiny, curvy French horns, the elegant string section, the very tall man in the back on the kettle drums, and the utterly intriguing and mysterious (to me anyway) process of conducting. I’m certain I must have gone to a symphony before at some point in my life, but it’s been a long time, and there was a lot for my unpracticed brain to keep track of.

The only time I was emotionally overwhelmed was after pianist Yefim Bronfman performed his last piece of the night. I don’t know the name of the piece, but I’m pretty sure that his hands defied the laws of physics. I was utterly stunned. The man is a flat-out athlete. I have never seen fingers move so fast and hard over a keyboard. He murdered that piano with his entire heart and soul, and at the end, the audience went mad, on their feet, cheering and applauding, and it occurred to me as I stood there taking in all of their joy and their adoration for this virtuoso, that this was prayer. He created a thing of beauty, and this huge group of people cried out their thank you to him with full hearts. I don’t know what was more touching—the performance itself, or the audience’s reaction to it.

In writing news, I’m truly in the home stretch with the novel. I’m in the process of completely re-structuring the last fifty pages, which has been greatly helped along by Mr. Typist’s clever “sticky-note” method, which he taught me after I pulled out my third clump of hair in frustration. Then I plan to give it a few more editing passes, and call it done. Also, if you’re in the Seattle area this week and you want to hear some poetry, I’ll be reading at the Good Shepard Center on Thursday, May 14th at 7:00 p.m. with poets Susan Casey, Nancy Dahlberg, Victoria Ford, Raul Sanchez, and David Thornbrugh. Come on by! It will be a fun, laid-back evening.

Not only do I gad about going to art tours and symphonies and poetry readings, I also eat at fast food taco chains. I contain multitudes. Mr. Typist and I went to our local taco shack for a bite a few days ago, and he and the cashier had an adorable bonding moment over their mutual dislike of tomatoes and Ranch dressing. (Fools, both of them!) Mr. Typist placed a special order asking for "no tomatoes”, and the cashier's eyes lit up and he was all like, "Dude! You too? Man, I hate tomatoes!" and Mr. Typist was all like, "I know, right?" and then he added "No Ranch" and the cashier was all like, "No way! I hate Ranch too!" and they both stood there rapt for a moment, reveling in their mutual dislike, and then I said, "Aww! You're burrito brothers!”, which made them both burst out laughing. I was quite proud of my rare witty improv moment. Thank you. I'll be there all week.

 Here’s a clip of Yefim Bronfman playing Prokofiev, Sonata No.7. It’s considerably less dramatic than the performance I saw at the Symphony, but it’s still lovely. You might have to turn your sound up a bit to hear it well--the recording is a little jenky.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment: said...

To add to your musical listening pleasure, give a listen to this most popular piano piece in all classical music. It's incomparable!