|art museum houses concert hall|
|excellent seats: front row of first balcony|
|Keine Pause = no pause, in other words, don't clap between movements|
The program was only two pieces. The first was about 15 minutes long and the other over an hour. The Boulez had a very unusual instrumentation. I was going to try to describe it, but this does a much better job:
Eclat has a great instrumentation — a glittery mass of plucked strings and percussion, plus a small group of winds, brass and strings who sit there silently almost the entire time ..... It starts off with a bangy, virtuosic piano solo that wouldn’t seem out of place in a later Messiaen piece. Then the sustaining instruments enter, playing pppp trills, and they gradually drop out as the conductor cues them. The bulk of the piece consists of big, unmetered blocks of time, demarcated by brief, rapid figures played by the shiny instruments. Finally, the sustaining instruments come back to play some aggressive music in rhythmic unison, which only lasts about a minute before the piece ends.
I would love to see the score.
|15 musicians performed the Boulez|
|Sir Simon Rattle takes a bow|
For Mahler, a much larger orchestra is required. Besides the usual large string section (which I think was even larger than normal), the wind section included more of each than is typical and nearly every instrument variety that exists! For instance, there were three "normal" clarinets, but also a soprano and bass clarinet. People were not doubling instruments; this required five musicians.
|8 basses - part of a huge string section|
|not quite everyone fits in the photo!|
|congratulating the tenor horn soloist|
|another bow - Bravo!!|
For something completely different, the next day I met friends at the main station in Zurich and we hopped on the train to Rorhschach, home of the annual sand sculpture festival. It takes place on the Swiss side of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) which is between Switzerland and Germany. Although the outing was my idea, I gave full disclosure. I'd never been there before and had no idea what to expect.
Lake Constance does not have a sandy beach. All the sand used had to be brought in by truck. Realizing that, it makes sense that this festival was quite small. There were only about 10-12 large displays. Although it was not ever spelled out, we guessed the theme of the year had to do with imagination.
The figure in the center is faceless and surrounded by four faces expressing very different, but clear emotions.
|the only photo I took that shows a larger expanse of the displays|
I think the baby on the left looks like Buddha!
The girl below is sitting reading under a whale's tail (tale under a tail?) while the water dripping off is blocks with letters. A form must have been used to make the blocks.
|looking up at a paper boat|
|two sided heads|
We chose this sculpture to pose with because it was one of the biggest. Still a challenge not to block it all.
|Lisa, Lynn, Donna and yours truly|
This sculpture reminded me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Others thought it looked like a turtle with the brain being the shell. Below is the back of the brain that Gollum is carrying - it has feathers!
|one of a few simple sculptures|
|boats on Lake Constance|
There were lots of pretty gardens around Rorschach, but I did not find an inkblot museum!
|a "badi" or bath house|
Will there be any more visits to Swiss festivals before our move? Place your bets and the answer will become clear in future posts.