Night at the philharmonic.

I went to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra with my friend last night; we have concocted a tradition of having dinner at her place, with her family, and then the two of us take the train down to the Jack Singer Concert Hall. We especially like the choir loft seats — for me, it’s a treat to be so close to the musicians, to be able to look down and see their sheet music and hear the conductor talking to them, watch them playing. We really enjoy being able to look out at the audience, too. It’s always a fun evening.

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As sombre as the mood can be in Calgary right now, there are still these things going on — still an appreciation for things like this, a long applause for a visiting violinist, the welcome break from dire predictions about oil prices and the reality of inflation. Last night was Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, and between those two pieces, there was a surprise encore of Paganini’s caprice no. 5, which was a real treat. But the best of the night was the Tchaikovsky; we heard Symphony No. 6 Pathétique in its entirety, and it was beautiful.

I’ve seen some great shows this season, but it was an especially touching performance last night. At the end of Tchaikovsky’s 6th, the conductor let the last note die away and we were all silent — conductor, musicians, audience. It was as if we were all sharing the height of that last melancholy moment, holding onto it for Tchaikovsky and communing with him. It was breathtaking.

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And then we came out into the snow, and the world transformed.

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