nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

Slightly out of my comfort zone

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I know next to nothing about classical music. In fact, my only knowledge probably comes from Thatcher’s privatisation campaign in the 1980s when the water boards were sold off and we were all subjected to Handel’s Water Music every day for months in the years when ITV and a young Channel 4 were the only commercial TV channels. So when R and I went to Carnegie Hall last night, it was all a bit scary. I was more worried about falling asleep listening to music where I couldn’t fiddle with my mobile phone or be distracted by making a cup of tea. But it turns out that Sir Simon Rattle, the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic does a good job at keeping his audience of thousands awake.

For 85 bucks a ticket we got to sit high up, nearly able to touch the ceiling, and look down on the people who paid way more than we did and probably had more of a clue what was going on. For me, I quite liked the Rachmaninov, 35 mins of up and down music with some amusing bits where the bloke with the triangle and the glockenspiel got his turn. I haven’t seen a glockenspiel since I was at school, I was a bit surprised to see it here, but hey, they had a tambourine too, so anything goes in this orchestra. But my favourite had to be the guy with the cymbals, they were huge and you could see him revving up to do his big crash and I’m just thinking, gawd, I hope he gets his timing right otherwise he’ll just frighten the life out of the blokes in front.

So, yes, I am a philistine when it comes to this stuff, but it was actually very impressive and if I were a violinist there, I’d have pretty sore arms this morning, they were going like the clappers at one point. I think I might take up the tuba, looks like an easy gig, but how do you pick it up?

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