I’m pretty good with surprises. Though, by the time surprise time actually rolls around, I’m usually more excited about the surprise than the person who the surprise is for.
THAT SAID, I surprised Eric with a trip to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for his birthday. Saturday evening, we got all dressed up and headed downtown.
Eric is a big fan of classical music, particuarly Mozart, and the Symphony has long been one of those things on our grand list of “Things we still need to do in Chicago.” Without tooting my own horn (music joke, get it?) I have to say he was delighted with his surprise outing.
The program was conducted by Nicholas Kraemer, and consisted of four pieces -
1. Mozart – Selections from Divertimento in D Major.
2. Haydn – Symphony No. 88 in G Major.
3. Telemann – Selections from Tafelmusik II
4. Strauss – Metamorphosen
Though I enjoyed all the pieces, I have to say the Haydn Symphony was probably my favorite. I’ve been exposed to so much classical music in my life (Hello, I’m a two-summer Interlochen brat, which equates to probably over 20 concerts per summer) and have always found myself enjoying Haydn’s pieces tremendously. Maybe he’s my favorite composer, who knows?
The Strauss piece that concluded the evening was for twenty three solo strings, and was intense. For twenty-six minutes, the string players performed their hearts out and the music was stirring. Did it seem out of place with the other three pieces performed that evening? Yes. Was it emotionally stirring? Absolutely.
If you live in Chicago, and haven’t yet been to the Symphony, I think it’s something you should try. It’s not particularly expensive (at least as far as downtown entertainment goes – I got two second-row seats for less than one Orchestra seat at Jersey Boys) and it’s a pleasure to be surrounded by audience members who get it. These kind people took to heart the whole “turn off your cell phones and don’t talk during the performance” thing, and I have to say I appreciated it. Orchestra Hall is also simply beautiful, and I doubt there’s a bad seat in the house.
And – interesting tidbit – there are free cough drops available all over the lobby for those patrons who feel a cough coming on. Who knew?
It’s a classy way to spend an evening. I’d love to go back. (And since they’re doing some free concerts in the spring as well as a Beethoven fest in June, I likely will.)
Classical music, for the win!