There is nothing quite like a classical music concert to take your mind off mundane happenstance, even if the first piece of the program is somewhat disturbing Also sprach Zarathustra, by Richard Strauss (which has been immortalized by Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey, but is more likely to be associated with Что? Где? Когда? for most of my readers). It was followed by very enjoyable Sibelius’s Second Symphony, and then, for encore, two short energetic pieces that I have no recognition of.
There is certainly nothing like the Royal Albert Hall, an immense spherical auditorium with unmistakably royal accoutrements and incomparably great acoustics. Our tickets were in a loggia box, right above stalls, to the centre-right of the stage. Great view (although I did have a small issue of trying to fit my legs into the couple of inches of space between my chair and the front partition). There were three more tiers of boxes above us, plus standing room on the very highest level. All fully occupied.
Furthermore, as the stalls seats are positioned in a circle, a lá circus, there is a large open space in the middle of the floor. That space was packed with standing-room-only patrons, whose only chance to sit down – on the floor – was during the intermission and only while half of them cleared some space up by leaving the auditorium for drinks and such. Those are the cheapest tickets in the house – at £5 a pop – and can only be obtained by queuing at the ticket office prior to the performance. I can’t say that I’d go for that, but it’s a pretty cool concept. Say, you are in the area, doing museums and some touristy stuff; then, at a minimal cost, you can finish your day listening to a great music at a great venue, all without prior reservation albeit with a little perseverance.
Otherwise, you certainly need to buy tickets in advance, especially if you want to get to a specific performance. These Proms run throughout August into early September every year, with a different concert by a different orchestra every day, and while you can buy tickets to some performances just a couple of weeks in advance, not all of them have the same availability.
I think we’ll certainly plan for a family visit next year.
There is not much else of note to write about, so I’ll take a moment to put some scare into Liverpool football club supporters.
I watched their side’s impressive performance in Champions League qualifying match against Toulouse the other day, and it had a similar effect on me to that of the Arsenal’s game at the beginning of the year, that made me proclaim my allegiance to the Gunners. Even the score was the same, 4-zip to the better team. This Liverpool squad was aggressive, imaginative, skilful and cohesive. The opponents looked amateurish at times, but it only slightly negates the positive impression left by the winners.
So, I am thinking: Maybe it’s time for me to try supporting Liverpool. It’s not like I have developed a strong attachment to Arsenal, yet…
Recalling that Tottenham, which I sort of supported at the end of last year, did not start playing well until I revoked my “support”, and that about immediately after I had declared for Arsenal its season took a serious turn for the worse, I can probably blackmail Liverpool supporters into paying me off to stay away. Or, conversely, pander to Liverpool-haters so that they pay me to work my jinx on the Merseyside club…
I have entirely too much spare time on my hands at the moment, as you could guess. Monday cannot come too soon…