A couple of weeks ago Agi and I went to a classical music concert in a beautiful new hall right next to the Danube. It was the Slovenian National Orchestra playing some Mahler. Overall, (I had thought) I really like classical music concerts--and generally more so than operas. However, as I settled in to enjoy some beautiful tunes, I found that I really wasn't getting as much from it as I expected and have with other prior concerts. I found out later that Mahler is known as a "tragic" composer and he didn't deliver amazingly lovely pieces as Mozart or Vivaldi would have, for example. However, in the midst of everything, Mahler stuck in an amazing melody that he had written for his wife Alma. That one piece (the "adagietto" from the 5th symphony) made the whole concert for me and I was glad we were there.
Also on the art theme, I finished Shogun by Clavell and it truly was an epic. It was meticulously researched and I loved learning as much as I did about Japanese history and culture dating back four hundred years. The action was mesmerizing and the characters were well developed (they better be after 1100 pages...) What I wanted to record here, however, was the recent strong impression I had when I picked up A Tale of Two Cities that Agi just finished (and which I had read this past Fall) and read the final few pages again. This book was written by a master (Dickens) and the absolute beauty and power of what he wrote made Shogun pale dramatically in comparison. I'm glad that I can pick up on these differences and am appreciating more and more what makes certain books worthy to be read for centuries.
Finally, on the "art" theme, my new tram book is one that I've had for a couple years and have wanted to read for a while: What is Art by Tolstoy. No doubt there is some heady stuff in there but I'm ready for some thoughtful non-fiction.