Saturday, October 09, 2010

choral concert, preceded by abject despair, followed by hyperreality

I am a fan of the music program at Cow State Santa Claus. I go to numerous concerts every year, especially choral and jazz performances. But I almost missed last night's concert because I saw no advertisement of the show on campus. None. Zippo. I have received four emails announcing the current theater show, and not one about the choral concert.

Thanks to insider information, we got to the show anyway. And as usual, it was excellently performed.

The Concert Chorale performed Mozart and Mendelssohn, and some people you don't know, but maybe should, like Nunes Garcia, Clements, Van Heusen, and Earnest (though Earnest's name probably isn't important...). Wonderful work by the soloists.

Lousy work by the audience. I have really never heard such a rude and obnoxious audience. First of all, dozens of people arrived late, came into the recital hall and didn't get seats until music had started. The etiquette is that you do that as quickly as you can between songs, not walk in and wander around for a while, waving at your friends. Secondly, don't crinkle yer damn program! Most importantly, if you are going to break the law by recording the performance, don't play back the recording immediately after a song!

The Chamber Singers followed after intermission. Our joke name for the Chamber Singers, which dates back to 2005 I believe, is Daniel Afonso's Elite Republican Guard - which is a weird joke, to be sure. (The Elite Republican Guard were Saddam Hussein's crack military security force, alleged to be the absolutely best Iraqi military personnel. I think I had some idea of their being the troupe/troops Daniel sends out to commit musical murder, mayhem, and mischief, though I can tell you I never put it in such brilliant alliteration before.)

The Chamber Singers are indeed the elite choral singers on campus, who generally work with more challenging material and are basically expected to be professional under all circumstances - handy for enduring such a crap audience. They sang all kinds of stuff you've never heard of before, which is great fun, especially the excerpts from Poulenc's Sept Chansons. (They did numbers 1, 2, 5 and 6. I explained, rather helpfully I thought, that in fact this is the complete version of Poulenc's Sept Chansons - it's just called that because Poulenc was a nutter.) Poulenc was a nutter, and the Sept Chansons include some of his weird intervals and melodrama. The other two highlights of their program for me were another 20th century piece, by Hanson, called "A Prayer of the Middle Ages," which has some of the same stuff I love in Poulenc, and was beautifully sung, and the closing number, "Cosita Linda," which is a bit of fluff, but rhythmically dynamic and featured Daniel playing a shaker and the choir swaying to the beat.

Great, great show. The audience didn't deserve it. Well, okay, some of us did.

Anyway, yeah, this was after a day of feeling utterly miserable, all freaking day. No further comment on that.

Afterward, we stopped in at a party for the choirs, and this morning somebody on Facebook had a profile picture taken at the party. So this morning I'm having this Virilio/Baudrillard moment, staring instantaneous nostalgia in the face(book) over my coffee. For some reason folks' party images posted to Facebook hadn't struck me before, but they really are hyperreal, taken to the extreme - some people spend a great deal of time at parties capturing images of the party, then either posting them immediately or soon after to teh Interwebs, so the party becomes this hyper-real event - you know, like the Gulf War... which ties us back into the Elite Republican Guard joke, and which will close out this rambling for today, not least of all because I have a two-inch stack of student papers to grade.

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