Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Musical Interludes

Interlude the First
On June 17, Denise and I ventured out to support a couple friends in their debut performance with the band Unprepared, which, frankly, did not live up to its name.

I’d heard Scott and KC perform numerous times as 2/5 of the now-defunct Simple Proof, and was glad to learn that Unprepared’s sound was pretty much the same. They stuck mostly with originals — all of it quality stuff — but also broke out a couple stellar renditions of Seal’s “Crazy” and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” (Unprepared's Facebook page)

They were followed to the stage by Hot Fuzz Fantastic, which also did not live up to its name.1 The Fuzz did, however, play a fun cover of “The Safety Dance” and weave Legend of Zelda music into another song in a superbly geektastic guitar solo.

To end the night, the two bands joined forces for one final song, and with their powers combined, they became... slightly fuzzier, but markedly less prepared.

Scott spent most of his time with half his face bathed in red light and the other half immersed in darkness, so I didn't get any flattering pictures of him (not that it stopped me from posting one). And KC is that rare specimen who can play real guitar but look like he's playing air guitar, so of course I managed a couple shots of that. See them all on Flickr.

Interlude the Second
On June 26, Denise and I ventured out to support a few dozen strangers, known collectively as the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. We’d scored free tickets to the opening concert of the Talcott Mountain Music Festival, so we relaxed on the lawn under the stars and listened to some excellent classical music.2

First on the program: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Overture No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068. Though I didn’t recognize this by name, clearly Bach wrote this to commemorate the victims of the Brain-Washed Vampire massacre of 1068. The music — some of which it turned out I'd played before — evoked the image of the dozens of vampires blindly following the pied piper out into the blazing sun. (Suckers.)

Next up was Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major, which just happens to be my sister’s favorite musical piece ever in the history of the entire world. She believes all other music is complete and utter crap, and therefore, whenever you see her you should hum this song endlessly. When you do, I expect she’ll run up to you to give you a great big hug. (Can’t remember how it goes? Go here for a quick reminder.)

The highlight of the evening came after intermission: Antonio Vivaldi’s Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons). I’d been looking forward to this, since it would be the first time I’d ever heard any of the seasons performed live without being a part of the production. What’s that? You didn’t know I used to play in an orchestra? Let me fill you in on the details.

I was once the greatest middle school violinist in all of northern Connecticut.3 In high school, however, apathy got the better of me and I was relegated to second fiddle. Nah, I’m just kidding; although I did play at the back of the second violin section in the general orchestra, I was the concertmaster for the school’s renouned chamber orchestra.4 It was here that I performed the solos for Spring and Winter. And quite brilliantly, I might add.5

On Friday night, HSO Concertmaster Leonid Sigal played each of the solos masterfully, with fantastic energy, deft fingering, and — as best I could tell — his bow. I mimicked his performance from my spot on the lawn.

And, for one night, I was the greatest air violinist in all of northern Connecticut.

See? I told you the stars were fake. So was the moon.

1 Damn lukewarm fuzz.
2 The stars were fake.
3 Please, hold your applause until the end.
4 We were also reknowned, but most people found it more interesting that the first word used to describe the group was so horrible we had to replace it.
5 That is to say: I played brilliantly on the fast movements. Back then, I thought slow movements were stupid. My feelings on this matter have not changed.

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