a summer evening of music and poetry, last night was, and i enjoyed it greatly. sarah and her father (who plays clarinet) performed “five bagatelles” by gerald finzi, as well as selections from joseph horowitz’s “sonatina”. i hadn’t heard either before, and truly enjoyed the new experience. there was another performance, a piano duet (a piece by manuel infante) that i liked, too. i wish i could say the same for the piece by paul hindemith. it had a french horn – which, while not my favorite instrument, is still lots of fun to hear – and a piano, and so i expected to like it. instead, it broke my brain. sarah and her dad tell me that, basically, “hindemith is like that,” which made me feel a bit better. i compared it to an e e cummings poem: if you don’t know what it’s like ahead of time, your first experience with it is bound to be confusing. i’m going to give it another shot, though. if anyone has any further hindemith recommendations, please send them my way.
i can’t forget to mention the poetry, read by d.l. emblen (the poet laureate of sonoma county) and two other people. i am always skeptical of poetry readings, but this one was lots of fun. emblen has a quirky, warm sense of humor, and many of the poems discussed aging matter-of-factly, instead of relying on saccharine nostalgia. i look forward to a copy of his next book, which will be published this month.
the entire atmosphere was warm – well, physically, since it was hot in that old house – and all the performances were well-received with applause and smiles. what a lovely way to spend a summer evening, i thought several times, curled up in a beautiful, soft chair that rocked gently. the hosts have an incredible two-room library with bookshelves on every possible square inch of wall, plus free-standing ones like in old public libraries. i want rooms like that when i grow up.