We had the most interesting day yesterday. My youngest sister was visiting and she joined us for a Red Hat Lady's luncheon. They welcomed her warmly and asked where she lived and worked, and then the conversation was off and running. We had lunch at "The Claddagh" as a tip of the hat to St. Paddy's Day. I had a great corned beef and coleslaw variation on a Reuben. While we were out, we visited Trader Joe's and Crate and Barrel. Nan egged me on to make a major dish purchase, while she walked out of the store empty-handed!
We made it home a little after 3:00 and then Dear Husband and I drove into Chicago to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I'd given DH tickets for Christmas to hear Sir Alfred Brendel perform Mozart. It was the first time we'd been there since they have remodeled the facility. It's a beautiful bon-bon in cream, taupe, silver and gold. It just shimmers, and has great sight and sound lines.
We heard Haydn's Symphony No. 93 in D Major, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K.453, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67. We arrived more than 30 minutes early, and had main-floor seats on the aisle. Rather than get up and down ten times, we spent part of the time standing until the aisle filled. The staff is energetic in getting everyone seated so that the performance can begin on time. We were interested to see the layout change for each performance.
Roberto Abbado was conducting, and he chose to have the basses and first violins to his left, the second violins and violas to his right and the cellos in the center, second row. The woodwinds were behind the cellos and the brass were off to the right, and slightly higher on the risers. There was one lone percussionist, a tympanist.
I thought they were going to have to roll in the piano for Sir Alfred, but we were surprised to see it rise from the pit. Beethoven's symphony required more performers than the Haydn and Mozart, so there was an intermission before the last selection, so they could get everything moved in place.
The first flute, first oboe, first clarinet and first bassoon of the CSO create a beautiful core of sound for selections like these. Where the musical line moves from one to the next, the trade off is faultless, and the tone quality so perfect that it sounds as though one instrument is playing the line. I closed my eyes to listen just to focus on the incredible sound. It was a wonderful evening, one which we need to do again, soon!
We came home to change our clocks forward, and slept fast. Elegante Mother wanted to go to early church, and then we had breakfast at a great Cajun place, before Nan started the drive home. When you factor in the warm weather, Nan's presence, and the enjoyable activities, this has to be one of the best weekends we've had all winter. Let's do it again, SOON!