Fine food, fine conversation, and fine music

userinfokathrynt very kindly offered userinfosolarbird, userinfospazzkat, and me free tickets to last night’s Seattle Symphony and Chorale performance at Benaroya, and we were delighted to take her up on that. We hadn’t hung out with Kathryn and userinfollachglin for a while in general, for one thing. For another, we agreed to meet for dinner at Wild Ginger downtown, right across the street from Benaroya.

And oh my word. I hadn’t eaten there before, but it was a delight all around. Our waiter was amazing, and they was another gentleman who was very eager to offer us wine suggestions even though we didn’t actually wind up buying any wine. So thumbs up for the staff, all around. As for the food: WOW. A bit on the pricy side, but worth every penny. Dara and I shared this tasty seven flavor beef dish, and it was so much a pleasure to be served a portion size that was exactly the right amount of food for the two of us to eat. The chocolate torte we both had for dessert was, in a word, orgasmic. Calorie-laden? Oh god yes. But I REGRET NOTHING, even though I made myself get on the treadmill this morning to earn that orgasmic dessert. *^_^*;;

Over such a delightful dinner, we had lovely conversation about the music we were about to see as well as our various thoughts on who ought to be in the cast for The Hobbit, previous experiences with high school reunions, Lillian giving herself her first haircut, and other fun topics. A wonderful experience all around and a splendid lead-in to the main event of the evening.

The orchestra first performed Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102, Double. I wasn’t familiar with this work, but my Aubrey-Maturin fandom naturally inclines me to be fond of anything involving violin and cello together, so hey! The soloists did do perfectly lovely work, and once or twice the violin hit this high sweet sustained note that made me grin. On the whole though it wasn’t as musically interesting to me as I’d have hoped, and this may be because we weren’t in the best seats on the floor to get the richest sound experience. Overall the piece seemed a little distant and removed to me. I think I’d like to hear it again on a home stereo or perhaps through decent headphones, just to get a more personal idea of its flavor.

After that the chorale came out on stage to join the orchestra for the feature performance: Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, with which I had not been previously familiar. But Q gave us an overall summary of the story, since it was originally written as the score for a ballet, and between that and the program notes I got a decent idea of where in the story the various parts of the piece were. I was quite impressed by this overall–in no small part because of the variety of instrumentation. There were multiple flavors of clarinet involved, and, which was very near and dear to my heart, an alto flute solo! And there was even a wind machine at certain key moments, emphasizing where the god Pan was supposed to appear.

Dara told us all afterwards that she had an experience with it much like I had when I finally saw Casablanca: i.e., that after seeing all of the movies and TV shows and books and such that were riffing off stuff in that classic film, it was very odd to actually go back and see the original work. Same deal with this performance, since it was full of a lot of motifs and styles that heavily influenced quite a bit of Disney and Hollywood scores that came after. She particularly recognized bits that showed up in the soundtracks for Buckaroo Banzai and Tron.

I’m thinking I may want a recording of this, so I’m going to have to hunt through iTunes to find a good one.

Thanks, userinfokathrynt, for a lovely musical evening!