Portable Magic
analogy wrapped in analogy, the I in me, maybe in you, too

Five minutes of your time, plus 5:42 more

I want about six minutes of your time to listen to a song, really listen, but first I’m going to witter on about this and that for five minutes because it’s what I do. Pretend I'm telling you all about our vet visit before finally posting the cake recipe you Googled.

I’ve been unwell again this week. The flu we all caught at Christmas passed along, but left me susceptible to every other living thing managing to hang on through the insane temperature shifts, and I haven’t been able to shake them all off very well.

So I’ve spent more than a tasteful amount of time lolling around reading books and watching movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries wondering if Kavan Smith, a chief resident of the Hallmark stud barn, can even tell any of his leading ladies apart anymore, or if they’re all just a vague blur of pert light brown-haired self-sufficiency with a sensitive backstory.  As well, I developed an odd pash for The Joey Bishop Show, which is on Antenna TV every weekday at 1 pm just now. More on that, or not, some other time.

This past weekend I was feeling pretty well, so I took a break from all that, and on Saturday, the man and I planned duel enjoyment of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Symphony, to which I have subscribed for four years.

The museum was packed, because it was the final weekend of their special Van Gogh exhibit, so we inched along the drive toward the parking lot for quite awhile, taking our ease, when off to my right striding swiftly along the sidewalk, I saw a pair of really stellar ochre corduroy trousers. I mean, they were being worn by an entire person doing the striding, but that was secondary at first, until the man, who was driving, said, “Isn’t that Louis Langrée?”

And indeed it was. We thought that was a neat bit of serendipity, since we’d see him later that night conducting the symphony. And I enjoyed his pants very much. But then, you see, I always do. I enjoy tilting my head at his charming aspect as he enthusiastically conducts the music, though I don’t have quite the same level of passion for him as my neighbor across the road, who is about 15 years older than me, definitely the nicest person I know here, and definitely very into Louis. She will gush, if asked. C’est compréhensible. He has true presence, that one, n’est çe pas? Et il porte bien son pantalon.

He left, we parked and went in to enjoy the museum for a couple hours; Novemberlight
Seating
they have a really neat exhibit right now featuring art works by employees, so if you live around here, go check it out. Employed
And then we went to Anchor-OTR for soup and little things, though to be completely honest I would rather have been at Zula across the street, but reasons and such intervened, and the Anchor is nice anyway, and then to the symphony, which is at Taft Theatre this year, and I regret each time we go having chosen floor seats instead of the balcony. We are seated near the back under the overhang of the balcony, so the sound isn’t as nice as it might be, and we have aisle seats, which are very tightly squeezed together. We always have to rise and move into the aisle for latecomers to take their seats farther in. The tech guy near us crackles wrappers the entire time, and on Saturday, a patron nearby enjoyed a bag of mini pretzels and a bottle of Coke. These noises are not absorbed well, and they irritate even when a pre-concert martini has been thoroughly applied. Though that helps. Next year at the newly remodeled Music Hall should be much nicer. I will have a commanding view, better sound, and will not covet so much one of the private boxes along the side of the theatre.

That night, a small ensemble of the orchestra and members of the May Festival chorus performed the Bach Cantata No. 150, and Langrée, now in his customary black tunic and trousers, called joyfully for an encore of the final segment of it. He spoke with enthusiasm about the Van Gogh exhibit. Then we heard Anton Webern's Passacaglia and after the intermission, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, which is such a lovely piece of math. He conducted it at a clip, and we discussed afterwards the French tendency toward this, but I liked it fine. We ended the evening with a glass of wine at 1215 Wine Bar, and it all made for a lovely reprieve from the Endless Eight of sickness, and uncertainty about the financial outlook of 2017. Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 8.05.36 PM
gloria knee socks bass a lot of bass, tongue tied young holt flicker mix midi keyboards mantra boy


Okay, that line is my notes for the second half, but I’m not in the mood to type all that so here. Imagine it’s raining hard, but the rain feels distant inside your comfortable space with the practically new chair from Salvation Army sitting under a window with an overgrown plant next to it. You don’t have to be in a dark room to enjoy the Cure, but it helps to set a physical mood sometimes. It should be silent, the kind of silence you command with thoughts that reside just beneath the surface of your skin. Be still. Curl up and listen to this song as it tiptoes in and builds and gathers and swells and then fades away. Go on. Play it, and if you’ve heard this song before, but not the Mixed Up version, I think you’ll appreciate what they did with it.


These days we crowd our heads with music and it’s in all our backgrounds so much of the time, and we take it for granted. Sometimes it’s good to stop and let it be special for a few minutes, instead. I hate the idea that we need to occasionally reteach ourselves how to just listen, but what I witness every three-four weeks at the symphony tells me it is so. When I think of the time and effort and sweat and earnest hopes and desires that go into the composition, production, and performance of a piece of music and then I hear it over the phone, scratchily keeping me on hold while I wait around for someone to tell me to “turn it off and then back on again,” I figure the least I can do is pay some respect to all that artistic drive and effort by sharing a good piece of music now and then, channeling my dad briefly; “Shhh, listen, here’s the solo.”

You can do this with the Cure or with Brubeck or Brahms. Or somebody newer than all that, as you like.

Wine

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