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Monday, February 10, 2014


My good friend Jill put out a Facebook feeler that she had free tix to the Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center Friday night. Short notice, she just got them herself around 2:00 p.m. and I was the first to throw my hand in the air and bark, 'Oh! Oh! Pick me!'

It was kind of close, timing-wise, I had to get to Gardner and get Mo and get home and back up to Jill's to go with her to the concert, but tight as that was it worked out.

It was so worth the effort. I can't believe I've let this place go unvisited by me for so long. I'm not a huge classical music fan, but I do enjoy it, and I'd been by the outside of it a few times, photographed it and whatnot. I should have put a bigger effort into getting inside the joint. I know people who can get things done sometimes, I have professional contacts that might have an angle on tickets to certain shows if I asked around. Hell, I could even have bought a ticket to something by now.

The program was Bernstein's On the Waterfront Suite, Ravel's Piano Concerto (Left Hand Alone), performed by Leon Fleisher, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. None of these pieces was super familiar to me, I'd heard the Rimsky-Korsakov a few times of the years but I don't own any recordings of it. It almost didn't matter what the orchestra was playing, the Helzberg Hall sounds so fantastic they could have been playing an arrangement of Copacabana followed by Fleisher playing Chopsticks and I would have stuck around. The acoustics are so fantastic, I literally have never heard a symphony orchestra sound so rich, clear and full. It's a true audiophile experience.

Oh, and Fleisher was brought out for an encore, and it was my favorite part of the concert: he played a gorgeous left-hand arrangement of All the Things You Are. I gathered from the program that is left-handed repertoire was developed when he lost the use of two fingers on his right hand. He could have hung it up, spent the rest of his days being that cranky piano teacher who can only use eight fingers, I suppose. He could have gone into graphic design, that's what I did when I was confronted with, actually, a considerably less formidable physical obstacle to a career in music.

Apparently a procedure eventually restored those two fingers, but I guess once you've carved out a niche... Hell, anyone can play piano with both hands. Leon Fleisher can do more damage with just his left than most musicians could do if they magically grew a third hand.

After the show, we went back to Jill's (where I'd left my car) and got out the guitar she'd recently purchased, a nice Taylor flat top. I'm more than a little rusty these days, and the setup was different from what I'm used to on

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