I spent pretty much all day Saturday at the Menlo-Atherton CPA again. This time the Young Performers Concert began with the ten-year-olds being impressively mature in movements from an early Beethoven violin sonata and ended with the full run-through of the Third Brandenburg whose rehearsal had suddenly materialized in front of me on the lawn the last time I'd visited the Menlo School campus a few days earlier. (You think someone has just turned on a very good, very loud stereo system, and then you turn the corner and ... there they are, playing away in t-shirts and blue jeans.) Along the way was enough of a good turn on Arensky's piano trio to convince me there's something to that work, and the most disconcertingly weightless first movement of the Schubert string quintet I'd ever heard, though it was very prettily done.
A day of concerts at the CPA, which is deep in a residential neighborhood (a few blocks from the house garage where Google started), does leave the question of where to go eat. There was enough time between the Yg Pf (concert 1) and the Prelude (concert 2) for me to dash off to the taqueria at the near end of N. Fair Oaks, which is adequate but ehhhh. Then Lucy Huntzinger drove down from petsitting gigs in far northern lands to join me for the main event (concert 3). About the merits and demerits of both the compositions and their performances we were in sufficient agreement that our discussion was of much help in clarifying my thoughts for the review. I'm sorry to have to have been so down on the Franck, but it just didn't catch. And I had an absolutely dynamite performance of it only a month ago, by the St. Lawrence and Stephen Prutsman at Bing, to remind me of how it can go. And an ensemble with David Finckel and Ian Swensen in it ought to be of the same caliber.
The question was, though, when was I to write the review? Not when I got home: almost straight to bed, stopping only for ablutions and to feed an Imperious Pandora. Not Sunday morning, which I spent cleaning up the text file of my Tolkien article, edited in printout between concerts on Saturday, and then sending it to my editor. After which I took my mother to the airport for a trip to visit my brother, and that wasn't a simple drop-off job either. Then home for what turned out to be a much-needed nap before driving down to Santa Cruz for the Cabrillo Festival concert which is my next review. (The nap was much-needed because the concert turned out to be mind-numbing.)
But I had a plan. Knowing that the local street fair coincides with Cabrillo, I went down early enough to eat street-booth food for dinner (the baked chicken from the Greek booth was outstanding) and be done before 6, when I cleared everything off from the fold-out table where I was sitting, got out my notebook, and used my newfound handwriting-composition skills to write for two hours, interrupted only by a woman who insisted on giving me a bottle of water to drink, as I looked so forlorn there without any food. When the ticket booth opened at the auditorium across the street, I picked mine up and then leaned against a pillar to finish, completing the review with a final . literally seconds before the auditorium doors opened. In fact, the review was so full that I had to cut it when I typed it up this morning. So see, Mom, everything came out all right.