Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bach and Barbecue

Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor
The title is that of Eric Edberg, professor extraordinaire of "cello, life, and everything" (his blog rocks).  He, on the cello, and his wonderful ex-wife Allison Edberg, on the violin, set up shop at the restaurant Chief's tonight, which ran specials on barbecue - because alliteration is awesome and because, it turns out, rich and saucy is sometimes exactly what Bach's cello can be.  Mac and I have listened to the Yo-Yo Ma CD for years, and I'd always been hushed by the intensity of the pieces.  But when Yo-Yo Ma played here this fall, yes, the room was quiet, by there was a joy in the room emanating from his love of the music.  That joy was there tonight: deep affection for the two generous musicians in this little restaurant of twelve tables, eager pleasure to hear lush live music, and the comfort of good food.

I felt especially safe there as not an hour earlier, we'd been rear-ended on the rainy road coming back from ice skating in Bloomington. Everybody in both cars is fine (yea! seatbelts!), and our car is even drive-able (not the other driver's though - really, seatbelts are everything).  So we found ourselves driving back into town still with the possibility of making it to Bach and Barbecue.  Originally, I was just going to go, but then all three kids wanted to go as well, so we all went. And I'll be honest, for Oliver and Eleanor it was more the Alfredo than Bach, and for Iris it was definitely the barbecue, but once they were there, they loved it. The tables at Chief's are covered in paper that the kids can color, so we started drawing "What this music makes me think of."  Iris, ever the literalist, drew a bunch of notes.

I bet that Bach would have enjoyed this evening.  What were the listening conditions for his Coffee Cantata?  Ok, wait, I just looked it up, and it appears that it was performed at Zimmerman's Coffee House in Leipzig in the 1730s.  The libretto is hilarious. And quite the feminist rebellion: (a daughter refuses to give up her three (!!!) bowls of coffee a day, despite her father's entreaties; she won't marry any man that won't let her drink her coffee; and it turns out that generations of women have loved coffee).  Why do people relax around music when there is food?  It must be the sensuality and comfort of the food, the pleasure of the meal shared.

from Robert Bartlett's Medieval Panorama

Of course, one can go too far with these things! No need to "go medieval" on this - may your holiday tables be filled with mirth, music and many tasty morsels!

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