I may as well pitch a tent at the corner of 57th and 7th, because I'll be more or less living at Carnegie Hall this week. Tonight, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, the hall is given over to the glorious Cleveland Orchestra, about which an English music presenter once legendarily asked, "Where is the Cleveland Orchestra from?" (An anecdote told in Charles Michener's in-depth profile of the orchestra, running in the New Yorker this week.) The regal Radu Lupu plays the five Beethoven piano concertos, and Franz Welser-Möst piles on some brawny twentieth-century repertory — Shostakovich's Eleventh Symphony, Roy Harris' Third, Birtwistle's Night's Black Bird, Dutilleux's Second Symphony, and the Berg Three Pieces, plus Schubert's Unfinished. On Saturday afternoon, I'll see Pelléas et Mélisande at the Met. That's enough for one week, surely.
I have a handsome old score of the Beethoven concertos. It once belonged to the superb horn-player Alan Civil, who was in the Royal Philharmonic under Beecham and later in the Philharmonia and the BBC Symphony. He also played the solo on the Beatles' "For No One." His Daily Telegraph obiturary read in part: "Once on a train bound for Leeds he sat opposite a young girl who was wearing headphones from which hissed a sound unacceptable for a long journey. When asked to turn the volume down she refused, adding that it was a free country. Alan proceeded to take his horn from its case and to play Mozart loudly. The girl then left the carriage to the applause of the other occupants." The obituary also said, "It would be unrealistic to gloss over the fact that Alan Civil enjoyed a drink."