Noilly Prattle: In the Temple of Music

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In the Temple of Music

Temple of Music - Rudolfinum
Temple of Music - Rudolfinum

In a 1948 movie about ballet titled The Red Shoes the director of the ballet company, Boris Lermontov, is bored at a post performance party and declines to see a dance by the promising young niece (Vicky Page) of the wealthy hostess. The hostess hovers and whines and cajoles a little, but Lermontov asks her how she would describe ballet. She answers that she supposes you could call it the "poetry of motion". To which he retorts that yes, you could call it that, but that to him it is a religion that one doesn't like to see practiced “in such a place as this.”

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Jakub Hrúša
We attended a concert by the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of a very promising young conductor named Jakub Hrúša. Not to put too fine a point on it, he was impressive to look at and a dynamite dynamic conductor—cut a lean rakish figure in white tie and tails and had the orchestra in the palm of his hands...or on the end of his baton.

They played three pieces culminating in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, one of my favorite symphonies. It was simply perfection. Hearing this symphony and Mozart's Requiem back to back it occurs to me that they are both swan songs. Mozart's Classical period optimism makes his Requiem sound like a paean to life, whereas Tchaikovsky's late Romantic period symphony seems more like the requiem of a troubled man at war with himself. Deep into the music, looking around the auditorium of the Rudolfinum, it seemed as if I were in an ancient temple to the god of Music and I was surrounded by worshippers of that deity.

This must be the kind of place Lermontov was talking about, where one would like to see one's religion practiced. I have to say I never saw more rapt attention on the faces of worshippers in any “church” I ever attended.

Think maybe I should change my religion....or maybe I already have!


Anonymous said...

music and dance….a very powerful 'religion'…one that truly raises one up to the sky and beyond…r

Noilly Prattle said...

Yeah, and a good way to spend an evening, too. I love to go out at night and I'm really gonna miss Prague in that respect especially. Night life in Okayama is more or less non-existent for old farts like me. ;-(

Anonymous said...

I thought I had posted a comment to this…time to move, perhaps???

Noilly Prattle said...

maybe time to grow up, perhaps? Nah, a thing being defined by its opposite keeps it interesting. Too much of a good thing dulls its edge.