Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian plays bass in an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thursday – Travel from Torino to Verona, Concert in Verona

No breakfast this morning due to overindulgence last night. A persistent rain kept me in the hotel until it was time to walk to the train station. Fortunately most of the 10 blocks were under arcades running along the tracks.

The orchestra had a chartered train to Verona. We were herded into three first class cars at the front of the train while the other nine remained empty. During the trip, at least one brass player used a vacant car to practice.

Chartered travel arrangements always pose something of a dilemma where the desire to escape from the group runs headlong into the exigencies of getting from one city to the next on time, not to mention saving money. The trick is to surround oneself with colleagues whose presence is enjoyable, with the double function of creating a buffer zone against those whose proximity evokes displeasure. I was fortunate in my seating situation and the ride turned into a jolly time.

The train to Verona took about 3 hours, followed by a superfluous 5-minute bus ride. In the hotel by 3:30. The Leon D’Oro proved less than charming. Baggage delivery became something of a fiasco too. I ran into a few colleagues in the lobby who at 6 PM were still waiting for their luggage before the 8:30 concert.

The persistent drizzle had followed us from Torino. A nap preceded a brief soggy walk around the town swarming with tourists. No dinner before the concert due to continuing ramifications of last night’s overindulgence.

The hall in Verona turned out to be a charming old opera theater, seating only about 1,300. The sound onstage seemed dry but with a good bass response. The mellow sound was a pleasant change after the stridency of the night before. Muti seemed a little less keyed up than the night before as well. Maybe his day had been as dreary as ours.

After the concert, a fifteen minute walk back to the hotel in the rain.

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