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Monday 19 February 2007

The Philip Glass Concert

CVH and I went to Nashville for a concert last night. The act was Philip Glass and his ensemble. Glass is a classical composer who I first encountered in Houston years ago, and who I’ve been following ever since. Although he lives in New York, the Houston arts establishment has always been very welcoming to him, and I saw many premieres and performances of his work, including operas, film scores, dance pieces, and ensemble works there.

Mr. Glass turned seventy last month, and began a “retrospectives” tour of his works since 1969. The tour didn’t come to Louisville, but he was as close as Nashville, so I bought tickets and we drove down there yesterday. I had enough frequent stayer points with Hilton from the time I was working in Detroit to pay for a hotel right across the street from the symphony hall, so that was very convenient, indeed.

As we entered the hotel to check in, I was looking for the front desk when CVH said, “There’s your man, Conrad.”

“Who?” I replied.

“Philip. Isn’t that him right there?”

I turned around and there was a man standing there alone in the lobby with his back to me. He could have been Philip Glass from the back, but I couldn’t tell for sure. I started to walk toward him and he turned around, and sure enough, there he was, right in front of me, after all these years of listening to his music and seeing him on stage. I introduced myself as a lover of his work, and shook his hand. That was definitely the high point of the trip, and made it all worthwhile. Imagine if you’d run into Elvis in a hotel lobby and shaken his hand! Of course, there are some people who would say that you just might still have a chance to do that. I was really quite impressed at how good he looked for seventy. The Buddhist life is agreeing with him. He’d have to be in good shape, that’s for sure; he’d just done a concert in New York, come to Nashville on Sunday, had a concert in Houston Monday, then Scottsdale, Arizona, Wednesday, and Houston again Friday, then a benefit concert back in New York on Sunday.

The concert was in the new, super-high-tech Schermerhorn Symphony Hall that just opened in Nashville last fall. I’m sure we'll be going down there for more musical events in the future. Otherwise, downtown Nashville reminded me a lot of New Orleans or Memphis: lots and lots of bars with live music and everything else a souvenir store.

We passed Mammoth Cave and the National Corvette Museum on the way to Tennessee, and I suppose we’ll have to stop at one of them the next time we make a trip that direction. We did drive down to the Fort Knox area last month, but CVH wasn’t feeling quite up to a visit to the museums that time, although we now know where they are. They let you visit the tank museum (Fort Knox is where the Army trains all their tank drivers), but, of course, you can’t visit the gold vault. They do let you drive by and look, though, as long as you don’t stop. Moreover, we haven’t even begun to visit Lincoln’s birthplace, the state capital, or all the horse stuff in Lexington, or the Appalachians in eastern Kentucky. Lots to see in this state.

Categories: News from Louisville