I am at London Heathrow airport awaiting my flight home. Even this last morning in London was a whirlwind: breakfast with Christian, a hotel fire alarm, a very entertaining and equally expensive taxi-driver discussion about Obama while watching the changing-of-the-guard band marching by, extravagant tea drunk in more extravagant 300 year-old porcelain, a listening with Mitsuko of the slow movement of Beethoven violin concerto played by Adolf Busch, and finally the ride to the airport. All of that in three hours.
What a day.
The Concertgebouw is one of the most special cradles of music in the world. Some halls sound beautiful; others look beautiful. Then there is the inexplicable mystique associated with certain places like Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Musikverein, something awe-inspiring about the history of concerts in that particular space; millions, perhaps billions, of notes must have permeated every wall, floor, seat, and the spaces between. The Concertgebouw has all of the above.
Perugia is stunning. I wonder why the rest of the world outside of Italy was ever created when we could eat this pasta and drink this espresso eternally. Both are incomparable. Perhaps Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was an expression of his longing for this caffeine high. My final Louange of the piece certainly carries me to this state of ecstasy.
This is actually Day 2 of the trip for me because I groggily discovered myself in London on the morning of October 30 after a redeye flight. After I did nothing that first day other than wandering the city searching for (and finding!) an extra violin for Bartok Contrasts, the group convened yesterday at London Heathrow airport for the flight to Rome followed by the 2-hour car ride to Perugia. This group already performed a few very happy concerts together in the U.S. in May, so everybody was happy to reconnect. I was astonished to confirm that every romantic rumor I heard about our cellist Christian Poltera was true! Usually there is some inaccuracy or exaggeration. He said I knew so much about his life that he should ask me about what he just did. We can thank Facebook for all of this important knowledge that I acquired.