Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Adventures in Music and Deserted City

“Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human.
 Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe.”

"Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art."
- Claude Debussy

"I'm an adventurer. I like invention, I like discovery."
- Karlheinz Stockhausen

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, 
if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

On October 25, Justin and I visited the Tacoma Symphony. It was a new season grand opening, and it was the first season with a new music director, Sara Ioannides. I wrote about the concert we listened to a year ago when the orchestra was still in the process of interviewing candidates for the music director position HERE in English and HERE, in more details, in Russian. You can also see more of Justin's photographs of the historic Pantages Theater in Tacoma which is considered to be the most beautiful of all Pantages theaters and the oldest one still in operation, and is a part of the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, the largest one between Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

But first things first, and since we all share interest in style in this part of Bloglandia, I'll tell you a little about my choice of outfit. As you can see, I was again wearing my thrifted denim coat ($10, Goodwill in Seattle) - love how the embroidery plays with the busy and intricate pattern of this dress, and who would think that there is a little surprise on the back of the coat too!

We planned to leave our car in a large free garage (by the Tacoma Dome) and catch a tram which feels always so special to me (I wrote about it HERE) and take a little walk in the city. So I was concerned that it would be too cold in a lightweight coat, and added a cardigan which I own for a few years, but don't wear a lot. The layer definitely added some warmth to my no sleeve dress, and I thought that it went well with the dress too - love how it brought warm gray tones out of the pattern.

The dress is by Chico's as well as the cardi. I bought it on a crazy sale (under $25 for a dress which originally was about $130 is fine in my book). It is made of thick knit fabric and is very soft and comfortable to wear, and of course the ombre effect is magical. The dress deserved to be photographed in a better light, and I definitely plan to do a special photo shoot with it. I wore comfy walking boots and liked playing with the idea of fancy dress and utilitarian shoes. Honestly, I am not sure I completely loved the result. Maybe if I had gray or black color boots, it would mix better together, but I don't have any. For some reason, I am drawn to brown leather boots - all my pairs are brown.

The atmosphere was festive. People mingled, a military band played beautiful pieces in the foyer before the concert began. Ravel's Bolero opened the concert, followed by O'Boyle's piece Portraits of Immortal Love, Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. It was the world premiere, a gorgeous piece commissioned and beautifully performed by Dame Evelyn Glennie. The composer, Sean O'Boyle, originally from Australia, was at the premiere of his piece. 

After the concert, Sarah Ioannides, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Sean O'Boyle answered the questions of the public. I love this American custom. I was a frequent symphony concerts goer back in Krasnoyarsk, and at least back then, we did not have a chance to talk to musicians and ask them questions. (We did have a wonderful, inspiring presenter though, Evgeniy Andreevich Losinsky who was my history of music teacher for two years in university.) The percussionist Evelyn Glennie (who apparently performed at the Olympic Games opening ceremony in London) was a new discovery for me. I had no idea that there are music pieces created especially for percussion (of course, it all makes perfect sense, I was just ignorant about it). It was truly amazing. 

The second part of the concert contained two music pieces, Debussy's Nocturnes and Respighi's Pines of Rome which Sarah decided to play without a break because, as she explained later, they flew from one into another, and why break the energy. I agree! It was unexpected, fresh and very powerful. The maiden choir on the both sides of the auditorium, and musicians playing from the balcony or from behind the curtain - it all was very unusual to probably most of the regular symphony concerts goers, it certainly was unexpected to me, I am still very used to performers from whom we as viewers are totally separated. There are they. And here are us. At Sarah Ioannides concert, everything was connected, not segregated as in traditional classical performances. And everything was moving, not still. Dame Evelyn Glennie, for instance, was moving (silently!) between, oh I don't know, probably about 10 different kinds of percussion instruments. (You stylish people would really appreciate her amazing bohemian outfit and the waterfall of beautiful silver hair - again, not at all common in the world of traditionally conservative black elegant outfits of classical performers.) 

You can see the percussion instrument set out in the front of the stage for the performance of O'Boyle's Portrait of Immortal Love dedicated to World War I, as the whole concert was dedicated to that period of history.

I wrote after my first visit to Tacoma orchestra last year about how much we were taken with that candidate for music directors, and even though he was amazing and definitely had his own vision, I have to say I welcome Sarah with all my heart. I have never, ever seen a classical concert quite like that one in October. I am very curious to see what's next. Justin and I do not have season tickets simply because we want to be able to go to many different types of performances, and even though the symphony is only once a month or so, there is only so much time, and I am too curious and spontaneous to stick with a particular schedule... but I have already purchased tickets to a March concert for us and my parents - the program sounds very promising, and very unusual... which to me is a good thing.

 On the way back, we had a little adventure. Apparently, all the trams and buses quit much earlier on weekends, and after waiting for a few minutes for a tram, we realized that we were the only people at the stop. We had to walk all the way to the garage (1.5 miles) in the dark and, surprisingly for Saturday night, deserted city. It felt so romantic, if a bit spooky in places. And the Indian dinner which we had right before the concert was a great help on a long chilly night! 

Did you have any adventures and discoveries in music or in dark deserted cities lately? :)

Dress and cardi - Chico's
Denim coat - thrifted
Boots - Born
Purse - Lane Bryant (old)
Jewelry - assorted (earrings are gift from my lovely coworkers back in Russia)



  1. sounds like the perfect evening!
    your ensemble is boho chic at best, the brown boots add the right twist, with gray it would be too matchy-matchy in my book.
    walking home 2,5km from the train station in the early dark, the last kilometer without streetlights because the way is more like a path...... where is the moon if i need him?

  2. I'm loving your denim coat and it looks lovely over your trimmed cardi and pretty printed dress! your booties match nicely the ensemble, black por grey boots would look too obvious and way less cool!! (love tan booties!)
    Glad you've enjoyed some fab music and not so fab adventure through a lonely city!! so crear you were wearing cool&comfy booties!!!

  3. That dress is gorgeous, the furry cardi looks perfect over the top and the denim coat is lovely! I like the brown boots, another colour wouldn't be half as interesting or you.
    It sounds like a wonderful event and the Indian food looks fab! xxx

  4. The denim coat look fabulous, and the cardi looks quite glam... And I'm so envious of your cultural hobbies right now... Not that we didn't have concerts etc here, I've just been cooped up at home way too much, knee deep in work... I need a holiday...

  5. The dress is beautiful, and you chose the ideal layers over the top.
    What an interesting and impassioned description of the concert, Natalia, I can feel your enthusiasm, and how intrigued you were by the staging and performances. I have very rarely been to see any classical music played live by an orchestra, my musical experiences tend more to rock, pop and folk!
    Thanks you as always for you ever-thoughtful comment on my blog. I definitely appreciate your spontaneity and creativity, and I can see that being constrained by a routine would be hard for you. As I said, I quite like it, it means I don't have to think too much or make too many decisions, and there's a comfort and ease in that. I'm lazy, I guess! xxx

  6. You saw Evelyn Glennie perform, how amazing! She came to speak at a conference I went to a few years ago now which celebrated 60 years of the National Health Service in the UK. She was really inspirational and interesting to listen to and spoke about her deafness and how she is able to play percussion as she does.

    The whole event and evening sounds fabulous and you look lovely as always - love a bit of fur trim for some added evening glamour xx

  7. Love the embroidered coat -- so festive! Молодцы, что ходите на концерт, это здорово.

  8. You know how to have the good life! I know it thrills you and you and your family deserve it! Do I have to say how much I love your denim coat, again?

  9. Seems like it was such an enjoyable evening! Beautiful dress, love the colour and the pattern! Looks nice with the cardi but I like it more worn paired with the denim coat. As always, great choice of jewelry.

  10. I just can't believe I've missed so many posts. You look mega sexy in this dress and I love how you added the green pendant.
    It's wonderful that you and Justin enjoy going out together and taking photos of your adventures. The only adventure I'll experience soon will be going to the hospital but just for a one day hopefully:))