Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9

Last night we went to Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento. Pete conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of All Hallows, one of only two Catholic parishes in the United States that have a full symphony orchestra. The other is Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

The performance was superb. The orchestra and chorus played and sang flawlessly, as far as I could tell, and Pete got us upgraded to the Conductor's booth, so we had some of the best seats in the house. Could have used a little padding, but hey. The music was so beautiful and moving, I had tears streaming down my face at the end. It was an amazing experience. I am really grateful to Pete for inviting us.

The Cathedral was built in the 1880s/1890s and has undergone a recent renovation. It is very, very pretty inside and out, and the Diocese has every right to be proud. I probably would have been much more impressed if I hadn't visited cathedrals all through England and Scotland. Unfortunately, it sort of reminded me of Aesop's jackdaw. And I didn't see any cathedrals in England with a giant (a little bit tacky?) Jesus on a cross suspended from the ceiling, which according to Wikipedia weighs 2000 lbs. I wouldn't want to be sitting under it in an earthquake. One of my friends M (I have three friends M) went to the concert too, and reminded me that a few years ago we watched from a nearby high-rise as a very brave man put gold leaf on the cross on top of the cathedral spire.

Luckily, neither Bill nor I burst into flames, even when I stuck my finger in the holy water (David sort of dared me to do it).


Barry Leiba said...

Ah, what a wonderful, wonderful piece (as are all of his symphonic pieces). I never tire of it (nor of any of them). Nice that you got good seats.

And enjoy your trip.

Laurie said...

Being good friends with the director helps ;-)

I'm planning on it!