Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anne-Sophie Mutter in Ann Arbor

This past Sunday, after attending church on my own for the third time this year, I drove out to Ann Arbor to see world-class violin virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter play what was rumoured to be her last concert appearance in Michigan (a misunderstanding from a French interview gave the false impression that she was retiring this year at the age of 45). It was a crisp and sunny autumn day, a good kind of day to walk around Ann Arbor. I was having a hard time fully enjoying the day, however, as job and financial concerns (among others) were flooding my mind (the place I work had just unexpectedly closed its doors, seemingly for good, two days prior). I also had 2 tickets to the show, but instead of having dinner for two at Grazi's before the show, I had a jelly bagel & coffee for dinner by myself and sold my extra ticket at a loss. Sometimes you do things on faith, and sometimes faith turns out to be a silly delusion...

After my "dinner", I went to church for the second time that day. I haven't been to church on any kind of regular basis for years, and here I am going twice in one day. I guess I felt like catching up a little. This time at the Catholic church my family would always go to when my brother still lived here and we were visiting him. Sometimes it is good to revisit the places in one's past, just to remember that there was life before the world started slipping all to hell...

I've only been to two classical concerts in my life (the first being Perlman 5 years ago), and it was an odd and fitting coincidence that most of the selections were the same at both. Anne-Sophie Mutter was touring in support of her recent recordings of Bach's Violin Concertos (most of the same ones Perlman had played in Detroit in 2003), and thrown in for good measure at the end of the show was Tartini's "Devil's Trill" (a piece I first listened to at a friend's place one spring after we had just gone on one of my first classical music shopping sprees at the late Harmony House Classical store on Woodward). Watching and listening to the grace and fluidity of her playing was intoxicating at times. At a concert like this which demands one's full attention, I am aware of how un-zen my mind has become, as distracting thoughts of all kinds pull me out of the present moment throughout the evening. Aside from my own thoughts, external distractions didn't help much either - the seats were apparantly spaced for children's legs, and luckily I had an isle seat. The audience also chose to do most of it's coughing in between movements, which, on the surface, seems like a good idea, but the silences in between are too important a part of the work to ruin with a chorus of coughs and chuckles at the sound of it. An occasional cough during the performance would actually have been preferrable. But these are all usual distractions at any event of this sort, and they can really reveal the muck and mire that is bubbling up at the core of one's interior life...

After the concert, I was weak and shakey from hunger and mild sleep-deprivation (a side-effect of actually making it to church this morning), with a potential headache making plans for my head later. I was going to stick around to try and meet Mrs. Mutter, but the line was ridiculous, and I realized I just wasn't that interested in this once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet one of my favourite classical performers, so I walked the chilly night streets of Ann Arbor back to my car to drive home to a more substantial meal and watch some of the World Series with my dad... and for some reason, after this evening of inspiring music, the lyrics to Mindy Smith's latest song kept running through my head, walking the sidewalks, past the coffee shops on Main, past the bookstores, past a time I used to know and love...

It’s been a hard year this fall
And I still don't know where you're coming from
And the sky keeps on spinning
The stars are running, hiding from the sun

I don't want to feel this blue
I want to be over you
I don't want to feel this blue
but love lost
If the heart needs a reason to cry for
If the heart needs a reason to lie for
there's no better reason than love lost
If the heart needs a reason to try for
If the heart needs a reason to die for
There's no better reason than love lost

It's a been a while since I saw you
I still don't know what you're running for
Guess you were looking around
For something better
or something more

I don't want to feel this blue
I want to be over you
I don't want to feel this blue
But I do
I do…


Steve H. said...

Loved the post. Tammy and I attended a classical concert by reknowned flutist Jean Pierre Rampal once and it was intoxicating. But you are right, it is not for the MTV generation attention span.

Also, with both Anee Sophie Mutter and Vanessa Mae is there some corrolation between female violinists and total "hotness" :)

Brook said...

hmm :D
yeah, I'm still not sure if it's her talent or her "come hither" looks that make her one of my favorites... I remember listening to that CD at home when I first got it (the Vivaldi one which has this post's picture on the cover), and my dad asked "isn't this picture a little incongruous with the music?". I'm not sure why that would be, but I also kind of knew what he meant. sometimes you need sexy to sell music by artists who have been dead for centuries to this MTV generation, and I wonder what some of those dead and dusty composers would have thought of their music being represented by the picture of a hot woman...

Steve H. said...

Considering the inclinations of most artists I know, I think they would welcome their music being sold by hot ladies, especially if they were talented as well.

Steve H. said...

By the way, LOL on the "come hither" looks line

mediamogul said...

Hi Brook

Great post. You'll turn me into a classical music fan yet.

You're also giving me the urge to dig deeper into Mindy Smith's music. I've only listened to a little of her music, mainly the first CD. Any recommendations of an album to check out next?

Glad you were able to make it to church. It is always great seeing you. Two times in one day. Wow. That's making up for lost time.

I know it is a long way to come, but I'll be teaching a Sunday School class on the Douglas Steere book "Prayer and Worship" starting November 2. Would love to have you there.

Good luck on the job search. I'm praying.


Brook said...

Mindy only has 2 CDs (not counting the Christmas CD), and I think Long Island Shores (her 2nd) delivers on everything her first CD promised to come. High recommendation on that one.

are you teaching that for Sunday school before church? Are there beds there? ;-)

thanks for the prayers. they are much needed and appreciated...

mediamogul said...

It is before church, 9:30am. Yikes:)

You're always welcome to come down for the THT concert the night before and stay with us. We'll put you to work at the concert and you can see it for free.

I liked the duet she did with Thad Cockrell on the Christmas CD. I'm feeling that urge to go to a CD store!


Brook said...

these days I'm doing the AA "one day at a time" prayerful resistance to that CD shopping urge, but if I didn't own Mindy's Long Island Shores, that would certainly be a great reason to fall off the wagon! That CD is a perfect example of one I would NEVER stick in a prosleeve just to save space. just the best artwork all around in my opinion. did I mention she does a duet with Buddy Miller on there? (in case you like that sort of thing). Oddly enough, I don't yet own the Christmas CD - generally not a fan of Christmas music, but not owning Mindy's is giving me the junkie shakes.

mediamogul said...

I bought the Mindy Christmas CD last weekend. My wife and I listened to it as we drove home. She looked at the CD and the liner notes and said "I think you boys like her for more than just the music." We both agreed that it is a beautiful CD. I love the duet with Thad Cockrell.

I love Christmas CD's. I will often by an artists CD just because it is a Christmas CD. That has led me to buy some real clunkers (ie. The Mariah Carey Christmas album).

I think I have Long Island Shore at the station and will need to dig it up for some extended listens.


jdaviddark said...

loved reading this, brook (not that i loved the fact of the sad bits..."silly delusion" nicely put). i'll be praying too with the occasional query concerning a southern relocation.