1. There was the ghastly weather outside.
2. The sale and purchase of tickets seemed to be confused on both sides of the table, but that was not a problem I had to deal with. I gave the two extra tickets I had to the man who originally alerted me to the concert. There had been virtually no publicity.
3. When I went in, I asked for a program. The woman seemingly in charge answered either “nyet” or “not yet,” I didn’t know which. It turned out to be the latter, for about twenty minutes later a man came through with programs, but he was most reluctant to hand them out. I chased him down and fetched one.
4. The room gradually filled with wet, well fed, nattering Russians, for whom this was not a concert but a social gathering.
5. The performance, scheduled to begin at 6:00, was “Russianly” delayed. At 6:20 a man made an announcement (in English I think) that few heard, because the audience talked through it. I learned later that the fellow apologized for the delay and explained that the Shostakovitch Fourth Quartet would be performed in lieu of the scheduled Shostakovitch Eighth.
6. At 6:35, the performance began. The first-half was given to Mozart and Shostakovitch. It was interesting to hear both in FCC,C’s large, very live space.
7. The intermission came and lasted forty-five minutes. That’s right, forty-five minutes.
8. The second-half featured Borodin’s Second Quartet, which is the quartet’s signature piece certainly (and they did it up brown), and five songs from Gershwin’s Shall We Dance arranged for string quartet and clarinet. The Gershwin was okay, but I don’t think that the audience was very receptive (many spent the time putting on their coats, because by now, it was about 9:15). My take was that any five journeymen jazz musicians (American) could, in an hour or so, come up with better arrangements.
9. The program did eventually end, and then there was still that ghastly weather outside. I was on foot, but appropriately attired and fortunately living just four short blocks north and one long one across.