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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2019 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Young Man With a Horn

Reflections on Boston and (briefly) Wagner's Siegfried.
Downtown Boston, and the Rainbow Bridge.

I'm going to go off topic here for a few minutes and shake out some feelings on this blog regarding yesterday's tragedy: the bombing of the Boston Marathon by person or persons unknown. I'm writing this off the cuff in an effort to put some of my feelings on paper in the time honored tradition of bloggers since the Internet was young.

Funny. I lived in Boston when the Internet was young, a grad student in the one-year track at Boston University's College of Communication. I had a 2400 baud modem in my shitty Beacon Street apartment, hooked through my telephone line. I used to use it to alleviate the loneliness of grad school through time-honored methods--chatting on IRC mostly. That and e-mail was what you used the web for...that and student access to the LEXIS/NEXIS database through B.U. "Mosaic" was something we were shown in a B.U. computer lab, the tool that would change journalism forever.

I like Boston. A lot of New Yorkers don't but I found a second home in that city by the Charles River. I lived across from Fenway Park and the Boston Beer Works. Went and sat in the bleachers. I handed out water in front of our building during the marathon, and took long walks, usually to the Cambridgeside Galleria or Harvard Square. I rode a bicycle all over the city, and discovered the joys of the "T"--and that it was quicker to walk from Point A to Point B by going through Point C--the secret topological truth of Bostonian geography.

I discovered Thai and later Vietnamese food on Mass. Ave near Symphony. Cornwall's--then on the south side of Comm. Ave. Bread and Circus (now a Whole Foods) just behind that historic concert hall. And Symphony Hall rush tickets which were a godsend to a poor grad school student like myself. Tower Video let me borrow Die Meistersinger, Tristan and Don Carlo letting me expand my opera horizons beyond the City Opera and the Met.

I found used CD shops, and started what is today a formidable CD collection if I do say so my own self. I got my first copy of the Solti Ring Cycle through an epic trade where I sold my copy of the EMI Haitink Ring to Looney Tunes Records on Boylston Street, raising the money and cycling over Charlesgate to Nuggets on Comm. Ave, with the eighty dollars in my hand. I remember sitting in the Deli-hAUs with my purchase, gloating like Alberich as Christine poured me another cup of black coffee.

Speaking of the Ring, I'm writing this while doing a preparatory listen to Siegfried, the 1969 Karajan recording. (I'm seeing the opera at the Met on Saturday morning. During the Forging Song in Act I I punched the couch a few times. Felt better. Got some of that Boston anger out. I know part of what I'm feeling is that I lived there...I know its streets and its people. If you read this blog you know, I still go there all the time. Whoever did this struck at "my turf" and that there's no information on who did this is part of why I'm angry.

I'll be "shipping up" to Boston soon to see Der Fliegende Holländer at the Boston Lyric Opera. Might try to catch the BSO too when I'm up there. I really hope they find who did this, and I hope that the victims and their families recover from this tragic, senseless act.

And in other news, Brunnhilde (Helga Dernesch) just woke up. She sounds really good.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats