Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Unexpected Is Always Upon Us

I had to do some Christmas shopping today so I took the Metro to Pentagon City. That was my first mistake, because the train was insanely crowded for a Saturday. Then the mall was packed, so I quickly passed through it and headed out to Hudson Trail Outfitters, where I could not find any gloves. Then, on the way to buy a Christmas card, I crossed the parking lot and was almost flattened by a car backing up - the driver wasn't looking where he was going, and when he saw me he yelled at me for getting in his way.

At that point I gave up and came home, not willing to take on any more madness. On the way home, three young ladies in traditional Santa Lucia costumes boarded the train and sang Swedish carols, which would have been nice if the Metro's tunnel roar hadn't drowned them out.

It was all quite like Luciano Berio's take on the Mahler 2nd, 3rd movement I wrote about a couple of days ago. In the third movement of his Sinfonia, Berio takes the Mahler scherzo and runs it through a blender, feeding in other pieces and quotes from Samuel Beckett, among others. According to Wikipedia, "Berio himself describes the movement as a "Voyage to Cythera", in which a ship filled with gifts is headed towards the island dedicated to the goddess of love." Well, there were no gifts in my afternoon and precious little love! Here's the first part of the Berio:

...and here's the second part.

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