February 15, 2011 by Kat Richter
A few days ago, a slight miracle occurred. In response to all of my complaining about Valentine’s Day, one of my co-workers informed me that The Preschool was offering faculty members free tickets to the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. The date? Why, the very holiday that has caused me, and single girls everywhere, such anguish.
And so it was that I headed back to the Kimmel Center for my second “cultural event” in 48 hours. To prepare, I began listening to the public radio station last week; I’ve been to the symphony before but never in Philadelphia and never when the music has been my primary concern.
In the past, you see, my reasons for going to the symphony have been as varied as “a cute boy from my college asked me to go,” “the tickets are only five pounds,” “I’ve always wanted to see the inside of this theater,” and— last but not least— “how can you go to Vienna and not do something Mozart-related? That’s bad tourism!”
The one and only time I went to a concert for the sake of the actual music was when I went to a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. And even then, my companion and I spent the majority of the third movement speculating about the sexual activities of the couple in front of us. (It’s amazing what two people can get away with in the upper chambers of St. Martin in the Fields.)
But getting back to last night: the program included Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass (what, you’ve never heard of Hindemith? Me neither…), Higdon’s Violin Concerto (which won her the Pulitzer Prize for music… Did you know that they even gave a Pulitzer for music?) and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.
Thanks to my new found devotion to NPR, I know all about Shostakovich… at least, I know how to pronounce Shostakovich. Aside from Symphony No. 5 (and presumably, Symphonies No. 1, 2, 3 and 4) however, I couldn’t tell you what else his career produced and don’t even get me started on the other two. I can only tell Handel from Hayden when they’re playing Handel’s Messiah so trying to distinguish between Hindemith and Higdon was, frankly, an exercise in futility.
I’m glad I was there with my co-workers and not anyone I felt the need to impress with my knowledge of classical music (or lack therefore) because, to be honest, I took away the following from the evening’s performance:
1) Sushi is cheaper than wine at the cafe next to the box office.
2) The guy playing the xylophone looked kind of hot (but having been seated in box seats behind the orchestra, it was hard to tell for sure).
3) The chick who did the violin solo had a very nice gown, but I wish I could have seen her shoes.
In all fairness, I’m more of a baroque music gal myself but a free ticket’s a free ticket and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a girl’s night is way better than sitting home alone on Valentine’s Day. I’d even go so far as to say that this was my best Valentine’s Day since—well, since last year.