Sunday, February 26, 2012

Begin My Blisteringly Fast Romantic Period

It was my last time subbing for Mom and I knew it.

That is, my last couple date for the symphony because my friend's Mom (whose ticket I was using) will soon be back in town and she'll be wanting to go to the rest of the season with her son and his girlfriend.

So she'll be the one meeting them for dinner beforehand.

For our last symphony date, I chose Chez Foushee for dinner and was rewarded with a window table right over the heat vent.

Our server kept asking if it was getting too warm but after the bitter cold and driving wind outside, I thought it felt divine.

In my perfect world, there's always a heat vent under the table.

Considering we'd walked in without a reservation and every table was taken except the one we got for which they'd just moments before had a cancellation, we were pretty damn lucky.

We began with a bottle of Mont Marcal Cava because it's always a party when the three of us get together.

Given the chill factor, I began with a zesty tomato soup as creamy as a bisque and with spiced croutons floating on top.

I decided that the perfect accompaniment was the Comte "grilled cheese" with wild mushrooms and beef marrow.

The earthy mushrooms and marrow atop thick-slices of bread and smothered in the slightly sweet and oh-so strong Gruyere-like cheese, made for the most adult of grilled cheeses.

My friend's girlfriend, born and raised in the Museum District, had fond memories of the space, recalling when it housed her hairdresser's salon.

"The shampoo station used to be right over there," she said pointing to the side. She's always a treasure trove of tidbits about RVA before I got here.

We didn't have time for dessert, so we left craving it and heading to CenterStage.

Tonight's program went something like this: minimalist, romantic, romantic.

Naturally the minimalist was the American and the romantics the Europeans.

"The Chairman Dances" by John Adams and written in 1985 was conceived of as a prelude to the opera "Nixon in China."

No, really.

Not surprisingly, it had a soundtrack feel to it, but I found plenty to like in the twelve-minute piece.

Mendelssohn's "Die Erste Walpurgisnacht" offered up three soloists and the Richmond Symphony Chorus for a dramatic piece about druids and Christians and fairies and sacrifices.

You know, the usual things poets write about.

My friend Homes, ever the musician, observed afterwards, "You don't often get to see that many down bows in one piece."

I'm sure that's true and I'm equally sure I'd never have noticed.

After intermission and a spirited discussion of dessert options, we got to the main event, Beethoven's "Seventh Symphony."

Fast best describes the movements of the piece and the program even said some parts were "blisteringly so."

Watching my friend Matt Gold play double bass, I loved seeing his handsome head move with emphasis in the blistering parts.

I know for a fact what a fan of Romantic Period composers he is.

By mutual decision, we decided to stop at Pasture when we left the theater and score some long-awaited dessert.

Bellying up to the bar, we got a bottle of Ruffino Prosecco and a couple of chocolate candy bars, that fabulous dessert of chocolate that stops just short of fudge with hazelnut crunch, Nutella and chocolate that Pasture does so well.

I may have enjoyed it even more than usual given that there had been such a gap between my savory and sweet courses.

There's a lot to be said for anticipation.

By the same token, there's a lot to be said for blisteringly fast, at least when it comes to some things.

Like Beethoven. Or better yet, a romantic period.


  1. Interesting for my first symphony. I didn't care for the first piece or the Mendelssohn, but I did enjoy the Beethoven. Some of the musicians seemed a bit bored, so I just focused on one guy that was playing the bass that seemed to be enjoying himself.

  2. Betcha that was my friend Matt. Talk, dark and handsome with a goofy grin? He's a music nerd par excellence and he's great fun to watch.

    You can also catch him having an even wilder time as part of Prabir and the Goldrush, the rock/pop band he plays upright bass for.

  3. Just fyi, Beethoven is considered a Classical Period composer, although one could argue that his later works began to lean towards and incorporate Romantic-period stylistic traits.

    I really enjoy reading your blog...just couldn't keep my mouth shut about that one, though. ;) Take care.

  4. That sounds like him. He was the last one on the left. He was moving around quite a bit. Anyway, tell him I said thanks for being enthusiastic about it.

  5. I don't doubt you for a moment. I only used the term Romantic Period because that's how the symphony program labeled him.

    Honestly, I wouldn't know the difference!