I’ve been having some black days, my friends. I don’t write about them because, honestly, my travails are so boring. I prefer to keep it light. Plus, feeling sorry for myself after reading some of Jimmy Bastard’s posts makes me feel like I’m missing a testicle. Or two. But suffering is relative and mine is very real to me.
Tonight, I took my sorry, troubled ass to Carnegie Hall for a piano recital. That probably sounds like a big bore fest to most of you, but it helps me. A lot. Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat and a piece by Brahms that was stolen from Handle. [Oh, excuse me, I mean Variations on a Theme. Yeah, right.] I’m a new man. It won’t last. It never does. But it’s a bridge to get me through to the next crisis. You do what you have to. It used to be weed, drunk driving and some unprotected sex. Now it’s piano recitals at Carnegie Hall. It sounds boring, but it isn’t.
If you live in New York City and don’t visit Carnegie Hall once or twice a year, you’re not taking advantage of something that’s unique about this old town. You can sit way up high for very little money (as I do). The acoustics are such that you can close your eyes and it sounds like your in the second row. And saying it’s a beautiful building is like saying water is wet.
I’ve never repeated a post before but this is one of my favorite New York stories and it all ties in. So this is for any readers I’ve picked up who might have missed it the first time.
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In 1986, a renovation project was completed on Carnegie Hall. The acoustics of Carnegie Hall were something that musicologists and the city always took great pride in but, post-renovation, music purists insisted that the sound had somehow been compromised, particularly in the lower registers. There was a growing theory that a thin layer of concrete that hadn’t been there previously was installed under the stage floor. Officials involved with the renovation adamantly denied the existence of the concrete. They said the story was pure fiction and they dismissed the critics as conspiracy theorist crackpots.
Well, as usual, the crackpots were right. In 1996, Hall administrators announced that there WAS INDEED a heretofore unknown layer of concrete below the stage and it was removed. The reviews were unanimous. The Hall’s warm acoustics were returned to their original form.
Can you imagine!? I was amazed by that. At the end of a concert, someone turned to their date and said, “I enjoyed the adagio, but it sounds like they’ve mistakenly installed a thin layer of concrete under the stage.” I’ll never be that perceptive about anything.