I am home! I am tremendously happy to be here. The weather is beautiful, and it is so nice to be in my own home in my own bed again. It's also nice to have an actual kitchen, and be able to cook myself real meals like arctic char with citrus and fennel. I don't think I'll feel like eating out again for quite a while - Charleston was wonderful in that regard, especially the last week when my parents were visiting, but I think my digestive system is ready for some boring normal food now.
The last week is somewhat blurry, consisting mostly of Last Performances of things, most notably Dr. Flummerfelt's second Last Westminster Choir Concert. (See my remarks on the first one here.) This was an occasion of much weepiness among most of the choir, but perhaps heartlessly, my feelings were triumph and relief that I had finally graduated and was actually done, since it was our last performance at the festival. It was a pretty hard year, after all, on a number of fronts - it's sad to leave, but it's nice to be done!
Two performances during the last week deserve special mention. The first was the orchestral concert of Beethoven's 5th. This was really super - the Spoleto Festival Orchestra possessed an incredibly deep, rich, and powerful sound. No matter how big and thunderous the crescendos got (and Emmanuel Villaume conducts a very romantic Beethoven!) I still had the feeling that the orchestra could have kept going. And despite this powerful sound, the orchestra also had great ensemble and was very deft and maneuverable. I was all kinds of impressed and delighted at the performance. Special kudos to the winds, especially the first oboe, who were practically flawless, and the horns, for getting a wonderfully aggressive, brassy sound in the exposed section in the first movement.
The second performance was the Sara Baras Ballet Flamenco, which was beautiful and exciting and rhythmic and stunning. If she comes to your town, go see her. I want to take flamenco lessons now. And those dresses have got to be the most beautiful garments I have ever seen.
The chamber music also deserves a special shout-out, of course, as does its host, Charles Wadsworth. I believe I ended up seeing three of the chamber music concerts this year. Although all the chamber musicians were fabulous, I think my favorite performer was Jeremy Denk - he had such an expressive touch on the piano, and was so connected to the other performers, and phrased things so conversationally, it was a real delight to hear him perform.
It was a good month, and the performances were, I think, the best part of it, but I'm so glad to be home. I had reached the saturation point by the time it was over, and it's nice to finally have some time to process the past year...and figure out what I'm going to be doing for the next one!