Some comments from Diane about our concert in New Year’s Day:
‘The veterans of our 2009-2010 tour were excited to get back to Shenzhen, where we had played at the pretty concert hall that looks like a lunar module … or perhaps a giant egg.
‘Our last concert was a resounding success! Linus was even more animated than usual. The audience paid attention. Only one or two people started to clapbetween the sections of de Falla suite (El Amor Brujo). A baby wailed loudly but on cue during “West Side Story.” Our two loyal accompanying persons who attended all five China concerts were in agreement that this had been our best concert yet. Some members claimed they had played flawlessly. Others…. had not quite played that well but were still pleased with their performance.
‘As has happened four nights in a row, an attendant went on stage to remove the music stand of the saxophone player. And as usual, the music fluttered to the stage floor. This time Linus deftly picked up the page when he came on stage and bowed, and held it behind his back. Just as deftly, Ariela sitting behind him in the first violin section pulled it from his hand, so that when he held his hands forward again the page had disappeared like a magic trick. The more concerts we play, the tighter we get. Let’s play five more, at least!
‘Afterwards we had a feast with lots of interesting foods, including mushrooms and—was that a pigeon? And then it was up to Linus’s room for drinks – including that strong Chinese stuff of the type that my friend who lived in Nanjing used to buy to clean her kitchen countertops!’
Yesterday (Thursday January 3) we took our leave with some regret from the luxury of the Kempinsky hotel and the relative warmth of southern China. We flew back to Shanghai, to the same hotel where we stayed seemingly so long ago, on December 27-29. In the evening, a dinner of soup and special Shanghai dumplings was served. After dinner many of us went off to explore the Old Town and test our bargaining skills buying gifts and souvenirs. Next, the bus dropped us off so that we could stroll along the Bund, an embankment along the Huangpu river where many historic old buildings are located. The cityscape was indeed awesome, but the freezing temperatures with occasional snowflakes were hard to ignore and we looked for the bus … it had disappeared! Eventually it was summoned back and we gratefully returned to the hotel.
Our return flights from China are spread over several itineraries, some departing today and some tomorrow (Saturday). We are hoping that it goes more smoothly than the outward travel. Wish us luck!