Oct 23 2012
This Pittsburgh Symphony tour began smoothly with arrival in sunny Barcelona on time. Waiting for the shuttle bus at Heinz Hall on Monday morning, violist Penny Brill told me the Mahler Second Symphony last Friday night was “what it’s all about, why we do what we do as musicians, a thrilling performance.” The reviews were great, and the audience went nuts. With luck, the Spaniards will do the same later this week as the PSO performs with a Spanish choir and an organ played by Larry Allen at the Palau de la Musica.
There are interesting substitute musicians from orchestras around the country on this trip including the Utah Symphony, the Charlotte Symphony, New York free lance players, and members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra which sadly was locked out Sunday night, as the Minnesota Orchestra has been since October 1st.
On the bus from the airport, our tour guide pointed out a few of the buildings designed by Spanish architect hero Antoni Gaudi, and suggested that while our hotel is near the water, most residents of Barcelona would find it too cold for swimming. Our guide suggested the Picasso and Miró Museums, noting that Pablo Picasso lived here for ten years. She also cautioned that this is a large city and one must be careful about pickpockets. With the economy in crisis and with high unemployment the problem of professional pickpockets is intense.
Spanish TV includes a take on the Today Show called La Mañana. While I am tapping out these words, the three hosts are interviewing dentists and oral surgeons regarding the latest in dental procedures with an Experto Ortodoncia displaying a nice model of jaws and teeth. Remember to brush and floss, and listen to tour reports at 8:30 am and 5:30 pm daily. I’ll be posting on Facebook and we’ll have a photo gallery so please stay tuned. If you miss a report, look for audio on demand at wqed.org.