After getting settled in we headed out again for dinner. We accidentally took the wrong bridge across the river and got lost and discovered that we had a Louisville map and about 5 Lexington maps with us but not the Cincinnati map we had bought a few months ago when we were last there. So we turned around, found the bridge we had come across and went back over the river and then found the correct bridge from there.
We found our way to the west part of Cincinnati, up a very steep hill (I wouldn't want to be on that hill when it was snowy and icy) and found the restaurant hubby had made reservations at. We were surprised at first to find the restaurant on the first floor of this pretty tall building. But once we got inside we realized that the hill we took to get up here was enough of a view!! It was pretty cool!! We could see all of downtown Cincy, the river, and across to Covington. We had a fabulous dinner as well: calamari for an appetizer, salad, entrees (I had penne in a vodka tomato sauce with chicken and hubby veal with prosciutto and cheese with some green beans and a polenta cake), then we finished the meal with a vanilla cappuccino for hubby and a raspberry sorbetto for me.
Once dinner was over we headed back into Cincinnati and found our way to Music Hall (pictured left). The concert on Saturday night included a work by Salieri and three by Mozart. Very much a Classical Era concert. All three Mozart pieces were choral/vocal works (not my favorite) and because all four pieces were composed somewhere between 1773 and 1780, there were no clarinets. Also, Paavo Jarvi was not conducting (actually, I don't know who the conductor was, his name was unfamiliar and he wasn't listed on the orchestra personnel page, maybe he was with the choir, I don't know). Regardless, it is good for my musical ear to hear things I wouldn't normally choose to listen too and the concert was very good.
The Salieri Sinfonia in D major, the only orchestral work on the program, was nice, had some good solo parts for the winds and many enjoyable moments. Next was Mozart's Solemn Vespers, the longest piece on the program. I don't know that I had ever heard this piece before and certainly don't recall ever studying it when I was in school. It was really interesting to see how he set the various parts of the Psalms in regard to what the choir sang and what the soloists sang. After an intermission the soprano soloist joined the orchestra for Mozart's Exsultate jubilate. Finally, the last piece on the program brought a good number of the orchestra members back on stage (most had played during the Salieri piece and then had left for the middle two works). The concert ended with Mozart's Mass in C Major, and this was probably the best piece on the program (in my humble opinion). Again, Mozart's understanding of the Mass itself as a Catholic was evident to me in how he set the parts of the Mass. I noticed that during the Credo that the choir sat and only the soloists sang the part that normally when we recite the creed in Mass we would bow for, and the orchestration was lighter as well. Little things like that were noticeable to me. The settings were beautiful and I enjoyed all the music.
Why am I not a fan of vocal music? First, I'm a clarinetist. I spent way too may years studying and playing orchestral, band, and chamber music and thus have very little knowledge of vocal music. It's just not in my listening repertoire. Second, I think that because I'm an instrumentalist, I just don't hear the words. For me, the voices just become another "instrument" amongst the orchestra. I often forget to follow along in the words and have no idea what they are saying. I'm much more comfortable listening to lines of instruments moving around each other and forming interesting sounds than I am trying to understand a message being conveyed through a choral work. When I try listening to the voices, I then miss the fun of the orchestration.
Sorry for the aside. People hear I'm a musician and they automatically assume I have a great love for all sorts of choral works I have never heard of. Why is that?
Moving on ....
Luckily, after leaving Music Hall, we only got turned around once in Cincinnati. For all you who are scared of driving in big cities with lots of one way streets, you have no idea how easy it is to get back on track when you get lost, the one way streets actually make it easier!! (Go ahead and laugh, but it's true!) I easily navigated my husband back on track within one block and we quickly found our way back to the highway. Piece of cake!!
But the fun didn't end there!! At 4:30am we were rudely awakened by what I thought was my alarm on my iPod. I hadn't remembered changing the sound and soon discovered that I was correct! There was a fire alarm in the hotel complete with an announcement telling us to make our way to the stairwell. So my first thought was to use the bathroom! We threw some things on, grabbed our coats, and headed out to the hallway to discover people all standing outside their rooms at the railings looking down towards the lobby of the hotel (picture a hotel with an open middle and all the rooms open out to that). No one seemed to be willing to leave, yet the announcement kept coming on and we were told that the fire department was on its way. We walked around to the street side of the building and looked out the windows to see if anyone had arrived or if anyone was standing out there but all seemed quiet on the street. Hubby noticed that there were still people at the front desk, so obviously they didn't think this was much of an emergency. By then the alarm finally stopped and we were told that we could return to our rooms.
I didn't sleep well for those last three hours I had, making it difficult to get up when it was finally time. We found a letter form the management under our door apologizing for any inconvenience the false alarm might have caused us during the night. I don't know how it didn't inconvenience anyone, it was way too loud to have slept through it or to have stayed in your room when it was going off. But maybe some people weren't inconvenienced!
Following Mass we headed home and back to our real lives once again. I'm so glad we got to do this and that my husband surprised me with such a fun weekend. He's such a blessing to me!! In another couple days we'll be packing again, this time to head south to visit my family for the Thanksgiving holiday. In the meantime, it is nice to be home.