I find myself wondering if we still need small talk at the beginnings of our discussions. Have we been friends long enough that we can just forego all the formalities and politeness? I think there has to come a point in any relationship where you stop knocking on the front door and feel comfortable enough to just barge right into the living room and start shouting about music and lectures by famous people. Are we there? I really want us to be there. Let’s try it a few times and see how it goes. Ready, go.
First I’d like to talk about Quodlibet Ensemble’s performance on Saturday. I sat at the very front, and that was definitely the right call. The concert opened with a chat between three violinists in the ensemble and Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral and Vocal Studies Dr. Jason Bishop (that was a mouthful). They talked about Quodlibet’s formation (basically a bunch of college kids decided to start playing music together just for giggles) and the relationship between their group name and their program selections and group dynamic (quodlibet means “what pleases,” and they play what they please). It was a really nice introduction to them and their general philosophy, and I’m a little obsessed with Nicholas DiEugenio, one of the violinists. Then they got down to the music, which was so awesome. True to concerto grosso form, every piece had a group of three or more musicians who occasionally played solo lines before blending back into the general texture of the music. They mostly played seventeenth century Italian compositions, primarily by Arcangelo Corelli, but they capped off the first half with twentieth century composer Samuel Barber’s beautiful and haunting Adagio for Strings, which gave me, and everyone else I talked to, chills. The second half was more Corelli, with a splash of German, and concluded with a rousing piece by our friend Antonio Vivaldi, which had everyone’s hands flying over their instruments like musically inclined spiders (I know spiders are sort of a negative animal to use, but it was the best one I could think of to convey the motion I saw). Definitely a showstopping finale, and I commend them on their programming skills.
Then, just last night, I had the privilege of watching the Drew-sponsored lecture by Walter Isaacson, for free, and without having to make reservations! (Because my blogger status opens doors, people.) His real calling is writing biographies of influential people, so he gave us the basic rundown on three of his biggest subjects, starting with computer pioneer and hipster deity Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc. Did you know he went to college in Oregon for a while? At a college that I came really close to applying for? True story. Even if he did eventually drop out. Isaacson used Jobs as a case study in creativity, consuming passion, and dedication to giving customers the best product possible. There were several anecdotes in which Jobs was his usual domineering self, but that man sure got results (Isaacson mentioned the secret award Apple gave to the employee who had stood up to Jobs best each year; every winner was female, and later promoted to significant positions within or without Apple. Make of that what you will.) Isaacson segued fairly smoothly into a discussion of Albert Einstein, but I missed a good chunk of that because of usher duties (picking up a second job is, tragically, often a necessity for us struggling college students). He concluded with a discussion of Benjamin Franklin, who was just really really cool. Seriously. He was a great mediator, and just an all-around genius and inspiration for everyone ever. I’m a huge fan of that man (Walter Isaacson is too). Then Isaacson took some questions from the audience, who were all apparently very well-educated and informed on the topics Isaacson discussed. It was real nice.So it was a good week for us, all told. Things will be pretty quiet around here for the next couple weeks, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be here, prattling away like always. March is around the corner, along with spring (even if the weather appears totally oblivious to that) and its accompanying break, but best of all… the next CMS concert is less than a month away. Try to stay occupied until then. I’ll help as best I can. Ciao.