Friday, November 4, 2011


This fall, I signed up to volunteer taking tickets and handing out programs for the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera. I've always liked going to the symphony, and I figured hey, serving the community AND going to concerts—perfect combo!

I've worked at a couple now, but last night was the first night I was able to stay for the concert following my program-distributing duties. The first piece they played was Bach ... and I have to say, I've concluded I'm just not a fan of the guy's music. It's always too frilly, it makes me think of French people who would have been friends with Marie Antoinette, wearing pastel colored silk suits and fluffy white wigs, frolicking around in the palace gardens. Last night that image was probably enhanced by the harpsichord, which was pretty cool to see despite let-them-eat-cake brain associations, but still, the Bach was not my favorite.

The main piece of the night was Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C-minor—you know, dut-dut-dut-DUHHH, a refrain which apparently Beethoven referred to as "the knocking of fate." That was pretty neat, as I've never seen this famous piece performed live, and the CSO (of course) did a terrific job.

I've left my favorite for last, even though it came second in the line-up. Mozart's Symphonia Concertante in E-flat Major, a piece whose attribution to Mozart is a bit dubious, according to the program, is perfect for fall. The second movement, the adagio, was the best part of the whole evening for me. If the Bach made me think of Versailles, this adagio made me think of a manor somewhere England. It sounded like being in a library at night, dark and warm, nestled into the corner of a big, green, velvet sofa, watching a fire crackle and drinking hot chocolate with some irish cream mixed in—i.e., exactly where I want to be.

The beginning of the third movement, which was more upbeat, for some reason made me think of "A Muppet's Christmas Carol" (always a plus), upping my already burgeoning excitement for this year's holiday season.

I really don't know much about classical music, but in high school I used to listen to Mozart while I studied because I read somewhere that it helped your brain focus better, and his music always seems to be my favorite of the classical variety. Mournful phrases appear throughout, but overall it's joyful and hopeful but substantial and warm. After the piece was over, I looked over the program notes, which said that the adagio gives a sense of "blessedness," and I think that's a perfect description.

If you're in town, they'll be playing it all weekend, and I recommend stopping by.

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