‘Tis the season for holiday parties and benefit concerts. Last night I found myself with the following options: (1) the firm’s holiday party, (2) the ward Christmas party, and (3) a benefit concert of the NIH Philharmonia. The concert by far seemed like the most fun, and it was the only one with a firm starting time, so I decided to go to the concert and swing by the other parties afterwards (which, let’s face it, was just a passive aggressive way of ditching the parties).
I’d heard about the concert from my friend Amy (who, in turn, had a friend in the violin section) who’d invited me to come along. It’s a community orchestra and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect by way of quality — but Amy assured me that it would be good, and the program was strong enough to tempt me:
Symphony no. 60, (Il distratto), Haydn
Symphony no. 3, Brahms
Turns out Amy was right. The three pieces were all difficult and, with the exception of a few squirly horns who could never quite land their notes, the orchestra sounded great. The Brahms, in particular, is very lovely. Clara Schumann described the third movement as a “pearl dipped in tears.” It was a pleasure to hear it live.
Of course, no evening out is complete without food. The concert was out in Rockville, Maryland (a.k.a., halfway to Canada), so Amy and I took the opportunity to find a new restaurant. We picked a Greek place called the Original Ambrosia. I got a lamb stew with potatoes and… (drum roll) baclava! The place was packed and the food delicious.
After the concert, Amy and I went to La Madeleine to chat with the violinist friend (8 months pregnant!) and her husband (proposed to her in Paris!) and father in law (owns a house in Provence!). Since the Austin La Madeleine is the place where I ate the lemon tart and Perrier that started this whole thing, I thought it only appropriate to repeat the order: