Things Didn’t Go As Planned

…..but the concert was fabulous

Before I left the house this morning I gathered up all the documents I thought I would need to get my new health card. The only thing I couldn’t find was my passport but I had a photocopy of it.

I headed over to the x-ray and imagining lab to have my bone density checked. There was no waiting and the procedure was painless and went without a hitch.  I picked up a cup of lemon jasmine tea from the French baker on the corner and a couple of loaves of day old bread, rye and muesli. Next stop, the medical lab for my blood work. When I got there, however, the waiting room was so busy that there was at least a 30 minute wait. I was told if I came back before 4:00 I wouldn’t have to wait.

Plan B …..I made my way to the government office to get my new health card or so I thought. When I got there I showed the receptionist my papers and she told me that the photocopied passport couldn’t be used but I only needed two pieces of ID and the other two items I had would suffice. She gave me a number and I took a seat. There weren’t a lot of people there but it still took 30 minutes before my number came up. I no sooner got to the counter when I was told that I needed three pieces of ID and not two like I had been told. The clerk could see that I was visibly upset so she gave me a special pass so that when I returned with all my documents I wouldn’t have to wait.

I didn’t have time to drive home and get downtown in time for the concert. Luckily the offices were open till 7:00 tonight so I rushed to the subway station to catch a train into town and meet my friend, CL. When I got to the platform, one train had just left and then the sign came up saying that the next train was delayed. Fortunately it was a short delay and the next train arrived in three minutes. I arrived about 10 minutes late and CL was waiting patiently for me outside of Tim Horton’s. The lecture was starting in 10 minutes and we hadn’t had lunch so we decide to forgo the talk and grab a bite to eat instead.

The concert was sold out and the auditorium was already packed when we arrived. The only seats left where we could sit together were in the front row. When I read that we were seeing a piano duo I thought that meant two pianos and two pianists but there was only one piano on stage with two benches. The piano duo was one piano with four hands.

Bax and Chung have been described as a musical love story. Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung are married in real life and when they play together there is a sensuality and connection between them on stage that doesn’t go unnoticed by the audience. Today my favourite numbers included Stravinsky’s own four hands transcription of his ballet Petrushka and the duo’s own transcription of Three Tangos by the great Argentinian master Astor Piazzolla. After a standing ovation and three curtain calls, the audience was treated to another tango duet for their encore presentation.

I found an awesome video on Youtube that shows the couple playing Piazzolla’s Libertango. The camera is situated above the piano so that you can see the interaction between Bax and Chung. It is a great way to see the complexity of the piece and the difficulty of playing with four hands on one keyboard.

I didn’t get back in time to have my blood work done but when I got home, I found my passport and returned to the government office to have my health card processed. It should be arriving in the mail in a couple of weeks.


Getting Ready for a Busy Day

….mixing pleasure with those things that never get done

I started my morning going through all my bills and then going on line to make some payments. I have three stops that I have to make this morning. First I’m going for a bone density scan that I should have done much earlier in the year, then I’m heading to the blood lab for more blood work and finally I’ll be standing in line to fill out the paperwork for a new health card. They finally caught up with me and after all these years of using my original health card I now have to get the new one with photo ID.

Once I’ve finished with these mundane tasks I’ll be getting on the subway and heading downtown to the university to take in the first of five concerts in a series called Music in the Afternoon. The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto, in its 116th season, puts on a series of concerts every year, featuring outstanding Canadian and international artists in a blend of instrumental and vocal chamber music. Many of these musicians are on the threshold of international recognition.

Today’s concert features Bax and Chung, a piano duo. I’ll be meeting a friend downtown and together we will walk over to the Edward Johnson Building for the Tuning Your Mind lecture which proceeds every concert. The guest speaker will give the audience some insight into the pieces that we will hear and perhaps some information about the artists who are performing. Shortly after the lecture, which is optional, the concert will begin in earnest.

I’m looking forward to the day and will report on the experience in a future post.