Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Friday, September 22, 2006

To the Chicago Symphany last night, a benifit for the IBA's Human Rights Institute. My first thought is to say something about how horrifying it is to find myself in an America where defending and promoting the rule of law is something that needs to be done by an organization like this, but that's too glum, I think. Instead, some thoughts about the performance, which was glorious. Beethoven's 6th and Shostakovich's 5th, and I found myself practically holding my breath for the duration of each movement, each was so beautiful. It occurs to me that perhaps the reason I have never found a way into this music is that it loses so much when it is not live. Visually the sight of an orchestra like this in full swing is nearly as stunning as the music itself, although there are comic elements worthy of Bugs Bunny as well. The reeds and the French horns seem particularly funny-- they fuss over their axes, taking them apart and reassembling them. The first clarenet had a bright red silk scarf that he ran through his instument every now and then, with a little flourish. For the Shostakovich the percussion was augmented by four additional players, and the snare drummer also had a funny quirk-- whenever the cymbal player got ready to , punctuate a passage he'd put his fingers in his ears and wince. I can see being concerened about hearing loss in that job, and I can even understand why he wouldn't wear earplugs, I guess, but it still looked peculiar. Great seats, first base side balcony, right behind the cellos.

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