F 1 D 0 - 2003 03 28 at 01 00

And they sang.

I've just come back from the performance
of Carmina Burana, by the Thunder Bay
Symphony Orchestra. I had the opportunty 
to observe and listen on a few levels. 

One level is technical skill. Another is
joy. And we can all get a feeling for the
sound itself.

There were Three Different Choirs joining
the TBSO tonight. We had the Thunder Bay
Symphony Chorus, the Lakehead University
Chorus, and the Thunder Bay Children's
Choir (Camerata Singers, aged 12-17). I
wanted to make sure I gave them proper
credits, since Google will record this for
posterity.

The conductor, Geoffrey Moull, used them
like other musical instruments. So the
Symphony Chorus was very bright, very loud,
very joyous! The University Chorus was timid,
but spoke words clearly. Some of their
singing included a lot of "S" and "T" 
consonants, and this nearly whispered
quality, with extra separation, was a good
effect. The Camerata Singers had such a small
role tonight, but they were a lovely sounding
instrument. With only ten kids, mostly girls, 
they filled the hall during their turn 
with voice. It was a clean clear sound.

A humourous part of the evening happened
when the conductor requested the correct
singers for a certain movement. This one
required only the males. So he gestures
for the men on his right, and signals the
centre, where the whole University choir
stands. He signals sit, and now they all
sit. He signals stand, and some remember
this is the men and boy's part so we have
some boys sitting, some girls standing. He
signals up and down a bit more, and the
choir is clearly feeling pressure of the
audience. 

I'm watching with binoculars, and can see
he's not saying what he wants, just trying
to coax it out of them with his hands. In
the end, the last boy stands, the last girl
sits. Geoffrey claps gently perhaps just
for the choir. But we in the audience are
watching, and it looked like he wanted us
to clap, and so we all did. 

The singing, the playing, the (everything)
was full of joy. 

I remember when I was in Boston, sometimes
the performances I'd hear were okay, but not
as sharp technically as they could be. I wish
I could quantify why some were, and others weren't.

Tonight's? It was very sharp, very crisp. Practiced,
but not so that the meat was all dried out. Cooked
through, and still very moist in the centre. 

Oh, is it wrong to use meat to illustrate their
good work? Then perhaps wine:

I found the performance sweet, with lots of
fruity notes. It had a personality which suggested
wood and spices. It was very thick, but it did not
feel sticky or overwhelming. From the first taste
right down to the last glass, it was a very fun wine.
No longer available at the LCBO, be sure to get it
next when you see it. I'm sure it will disappear
quickly.

Copied from the program:

Dance Suite, Bela Bartok.
Camina Burana, Carl Orff.

Some of my fondest memories growing up were
the few field trips to hear a professional
orchestra. When they perform for schools,
the conductor explains things he considers
important. 

When I was young, one such performance was
Benjamin Brittens Guide to the Orchestra.

This dance suite was explained and introduced
in a very similar way. Each of the sections
were described a bit, their challenge, their
theme, perhaps their history. Then the orchestra
played a 30 second segment.

After going over the six sections, we applauded! It
was great, and then we could all hush up, and hear
it without interruption. 

Even now, I'm looking for Mr Moull's email address.
This was a good plan, and I want to go on record
for saying so. I see him around in the music department
at the university, since Art and Music share the same
building. Still, I feel funny just approaching him and
saying "wow, I liked that". Email is better. 

I didn't get up during the intermission. Instead,
I used the binoculars to look around the audience
systematically. I recognized so very many people!

Eventually, I found my way up to the second floor
balcony, where there is a man talking to a couple
of people next to him. He catches my gaze, and perks
right up! He waves at me! And smile I wave back!! Then
I see he's explaining to his friends, 'look at the
binoculars' or something. I wave a bit more. 

Ann originally wanted to bring Peter von Tiesenhausen
to this, as he requested it. But we thought it was
last Thursday, when he was around. He came back through
Thunder Bay by truck with his five wooden guys. 

They had a certain look about them. They were wrappped
in white cloth, and the cloth was tied on. While these
statues are normally interesting and happy looking, 
they now looked like prisoners of some war, awaiting
some terrible fate.  When Peter sends some of the pictures
he's taken of them back to us, I'll share one or two 
with you here if he permits.

Our tickets tonight were part of a Music for the Soul
or Food for the Soul program (I forget). Here is how
the program works: we buy 10.00 of scrip from TBSO
at par. We can spend it at about a dozen places here
in town. The stores agree to take it at par from us,
but accept 9.00 from the Orchestra. And as a final
treat, each scrip has a coupon, and ten such coupons
can buy a performance ticket to the symphony. Ann 
purchased enough scrip for three such free tickets last
year. We've been using it primarily when we go to a
restaurant around here called "The Madhouse". This
makes it easy for me to call it Mad Money. 

- -

Sunday's films.

I cannot find the program or xxx I just found the
magazine version of the program. This will help me
remember the films so I can tell you the highlights.

Mostly Martha. I liked this film a lot! I heard
someone complaining in the parking lot that these
films should be happier, and this was one such 
happy film.  At least, I didn't walk away from
it feeling disturbed for a long time. It's in German
with English subtitles. Martha is a cook. No, 
she's a chef. She's a professional. She's also a 
bit of a nutcase. She cooks for her friends, and her 
aquaintances, but hardly eats anything herself.
Her visits to the therapist form the skeleton to the
story. Her sister dies in a car accident coming to
visit her, and so her niece ends up moving in. This
is Not rosy. They don't really get along. Another
chef is hired. He's italian, and his style is so
very different from Martha's. She almost chases
him away. But like a good love story, this one is
a happily-ever-after film. Go see it.


Quebec Montreal. This film was trying to be funny
and surreal, but in the end was an interesting 
commentary on being single. Canadian French with
English subtitles. We watch the lives of about 
half a dozen people finding their way from Quebec
City to Montreal. They're all dating, and they are
mostly single. We have three friends, who are about
to spend a week in Cuba. Two are driving to a business
conference. One is a lawyer who has a place in both
cities. And we have a young couple who hardly get along.
All of them are in their cars, talking candidly about
whatever crosses their minds. I wonder if every stereotype
was properly represented? The pretty girl who dates for
power. The smart computer guy who dreams in animated
computer game styling. The guy who thinks with his dick.
The guy who thinks with his heart. The guy in between.
The career girl, in finance. The naiive boy, in furniture
sales. The lawyer who has all of his friends wondering
what he is doing with whom. Everyone has advice for
everyone else. Even the moose on a warning sign. 
"Be Oakum", it says. "What's Oakum?" asks naiive one.
I saw the truth in everyone's situation, and I found
that a bit weird. I left the movie thinking all of
them were right, in some way. It was a study of different
relationships between men and women.


Bloody Sunday. This was a recreation film in English.
It felt like a documentary made with a hand held camera.
I wish it had less handheld camera bobbing, but aside
from that part, it was very realistic, very disturbing.
I am very attached to the dance and music from the British
Isles. This film takes place in Ireland, the town of Derry.
It has about 90,000 people. It is 1972 January 30. Ivan
Cooper, member of parliament is determined to hold a peaceful
march in protest of how the British lock people up without
trial. Major General Robert Ford is just as determined to
stop this march, insisting that it is illegal, that this
kind of demonstration is banned, and the organizers will
be held responsible for any violence. We see the army very
armed, very organized, all angry for a kill. We see the 
town people, unarmed for the most part (some of the kids
go and start throwing bricks). 14 people are killed, and
27 more are wounded. The numbers don't really convey the
problem well. The armed forces decide that they can just
start shooting at unarmed civilians. These particular ones
weren't just any people. These were the nice ones who felt
that a peaceful solution was a better solution. The army
action ended the civil rights movement, and the film ends
with every male adult lining up in the alley to arm himself 
and become an active member of the Irish Republican Army. 
The last two minutes included short fact bites, such as
how the Queen decorated many who led this fight, no thorough
investigation was made and nobody was charged with heavy
handedness. This was in spite of media coverage at the
time. I was all twisted and angry after this film.


Under the Sun. The title comes from The Proverbs, "Nothing
is new under the sun." Maybe I'm tired, but you know?, I
cannot think of any reason this why was the title. Swedish, with
English subtitles. Our hero is a farmer, who from the outset
cannot read. He goes to the newspaper office, and writes a
personal ad. Right away this catches the eye of the local
minister, who tells the farmer's friend. At the outset, he
seems like a nice enough young guy. He drives a convertable,
and races a horse on the country lanes. But he becomes the
bad guy in this movie. The personal ad draws to replies, and
one with a picture. Things get good. Things go bad. She leaves
a note behind, and leaves. And badguy kid has to read the note.
Ah, he might be unable to read, but he's not stupid. This kid
has been stealing from him all along. Still, he misses the
girl. Happy ending, she comes back. See this one. I was 
worried right until the end. 


Last Kiss. Italian with English subtitles. This is also
a 'study' or an 'essay'. This film looks not at relationships,
but at Break-Ups and Infidelities. This story follows around
a couple, but also a small flock of their friends and family.
Again, it tries to touch most of the interesting stereotypes.
We have the three amigos who want to sail with Greenpeace. No?
Okay, maybe they'll just sail around the world? Still no? Well,
how about just buying a Volkswagen bus, and driving around
Europe? But why? Because [1] has fallen out of love with his
wife and baby, and feels this will help, [2] is able to get
any woman into bed with him, but feels unconnected to any of
them, [3] doesn't want to be trapped in the life his father
has left for him (running a religious artifact store). Each
of the other people in this movie have a rich character as
well, and make it hard for me to draw them clearly for you.
Go see this one. It resolves well, and kept me sitting on
the edge of my seat. 


That's all I know.