Keep in mind it’s spring *with photo updates*


Today Julie and I drove through rain and hail to Hachinohe and had the pleasure of watching the Hachinohe Philharmonic Orchestra perform compositions by Haydn and Holst.  The Holst selection was his orchestral suite The Planets and the Haydn piece was, well I forgot.

The orchestra did a fantastic job of executing the Haydn composition, but it just wasn’t as exciting to me as The Planets.  It was still wonderful, just not as moving as Holst.  This obviously isn’t the orchestra’s fault, they did a superb job and I was blown away.  It’s not entirely Haydn’s fault either.  The Planets simply wasn’t as familiar to me (even though I had heard the Mars and Jupiter movements elsewhere) as the other piece.  I hear Hayden, or at least stuff that to me sounds like the Hayden pieces I heard today, in a lot of places.  It made me wonder, what would Hayden think about that?  How would he feel if he knew I associated the Seasons with waiting on the phone?  How would Bach feel about knowing that many people only listen to him in elevators?  Did Copland give permission for his songs to be used in those “Beef; it’s what’s for dinner” commercials before he died?  Then again it’s also interesting to think about what Haydn would think about a group of highly skilled musicians in Japan performing his work accurately and passionately hundreds of years after his death.  I bet he’d think that was pretty cool.

Obviously I don’t know much about classical music so take every thing in this post with a grain of salt.  I know a little bit about jazz though.  It’s interesting to compare the two in that they both celebrate community and the individual in different ways.  For many classical works (but I suppose probably not all), there is a right way to play a piece.  The meticulous work of the performers working in unison creates something much better than the sum of its parts.  The beauty is the unity of the group performing together but really they are also celebrating the individual genius of the composer.  It struck me during both the Holst and Haydn performances tonight that all that music came from a single human brain.  It’s astonishing.

Assuming a high level of skill, in jazz it’s much harder to perform a song incorrectly.  Jazz is all about improvising.  Usually each member in the group will get a chance to solo and showcase his or her skills.  Yet jazz music is also better than the sum of its individual parts and solos.  The musicians feed off each other.  To me listening to great jazz is like listening to a conversation between the musicians.

Anyway, after the concert we filed out of the auditorium and as I walked up the stairs I thought about the haunting ending of Holst’s Neptune movement.  Such a perfect ending.  Eventually we found ourselves in the lobby of the city hall and peered out the window.  It was snowing.  Yes, on April 26th, 2009 it snowed in just about all of Aomori.  Keep in mind that yesterday we went to Hirosaki to see cherry blossoms — the very symbol that spring is finally here to stay.  There are many cherry trees in Hachinohe too and as we left the city hall we gaped at their pink petals blanketed in snow.  I know I’ve written a lot about Japan’s predictable weather patterns, but this one caught just about everybody off guard.  It’s not normal.  Even if we decided to stay here for ten more years I don’t think we’d ever see the marriage of snow and sakura ever again.

I took a few pictures but unfortunately they’re from my cell phone.  If the snow sticks around tomorrow morning I’ll take some more pictures on my way to work and post them later.



*Update*  Pictures from my walk to and from work after the jump.

Snow and blooming things:

Click on the link below to see more photos.



On the way back from work I decided to walk down by the river to see how the neighborhood mergansers were doing. Along the way I also ran into a night heron, some ducks, and a few other birds that were harder to identify.

More photos here.


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2 Responses to “Keep in mind it’s spring *with photo updates*”

  1. kotonii Says:

    Driving through yesterday’s snow storm in summer tires was very scary! I’m glad you guys made it back safely.

  2. Last Days of Summer « Pacificloons Says:

    […] on our blog before his arrival to Japan.  He’d Googled for Hachinohe blogs and stumbled upon our entry about the concert and unexpected springtime blizzard amidst cherry blossoms.  I guess I […]

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