Bass Blog

Michael Hovnanian formerly played bass with an orchestra located in a large midwestern city.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009



Getting to Luzern turned out to be one of those magnificent ordeals arising from an almost obsessive desire to travel separately from my colleagues. At midnight, the view of Berlin from the elevated train platform was magical. The train arriving half an hour late and falling 45 minutes behind before reaching Dortmund, not so magical considering the scheduled connection time of 47 minutes.

A city on a large lake in need of a new concert hall sounds oddly familiar. Only Luzern did something modern, and in my opinion, quite spectacular. Not all my colleagues like the acoustics of the concert hall as much as I do, but everyone is entitled to be wrong, I suppose. We played two programs, Mozart/Shostakovich repeated from Berlin, and then and Haydn 101 paired with (yes, again) Bruckner 7.

Sunday morning, I set out to climb nearby Mount Pilatus whose summit was, as usual, hidden in clouds. I don't know the mileage of the hike – the sign says '4 hours' – but the elevation gain is about 5,200 feet. A few times the clouds parted to offer views of the scenery below, but for the most part, I trudged through dense fog. After about three hours I entered a series of steep switchbacks crossing a rockfall. The summit could not be far above me, but where? My feet were sore, my spirits flagging until, from still high above, came the plaintive melody of a single alp-horn. The lone voice, at length joined, became a chorus. I stopped to listen, briefly disoriented that the sound of a horn could produce in me something quite strange, a feeling I can only describe as the absence negativity. Rallying, I stumbled upward.

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