Friday, January 19, 2007

Day 2 Thursday, Berlin Philharmonic

Thursday we went to a dress rehearsal of the Berlin Philharmonic, which was pretty neat, although everyone was still really jet-lagged. They were playing a modern cello concerto and the Tschaikovky 6. Before the rehearsal, the cellist who was performing the concerto gave a half-hour talk about it, entirely in German peppered with Italian musical words. Suffice to say, it was pretty incomprehensible to most of us, although he did a few demonstrations of cello technique which were cool.

Afterward, we had some free time, so a group of trooped off toward central Berlin. We went and saw the Holocaust Memorial (although apparently we completely failed to find the main exhibit, which was hidden underground), the Reichstag (but didn't go inside unfortunately), the Brandenburg Gate, then strolled up Unter den Linden (one of the main drags of Berlin--- the linden trees had been there for years until Hitler chopped them down to make parade grounds but they have since been replanted), the Berliner Dom (the city cathedral), and the TV tower from East Berlin. Right before we got to the TV tower, it had started to rain so we were quite happy to just sit in the revolving restaurant at the top and take in the (somewhat obscured) view for a couple hours, nursing coffee and wine. It was sometime on this day that we collectively discovered apfelschorle (“apple spritzer”). My family and I discovered this delicious German drink about ten years ago when we were here, but had mistakenly called it apfelsaft (“apple juice”) ever since. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find a suitable equivalent in the States, so it was a nice treat for me to drink it again.

After dinner at a doener kebap stand at Alexanderplatz, the group headed back to the Philharmonie. The concert was great and I was much more awake than during the rehearsal. Undoubtedly, the best part of the evening was the very zealous cymbal/gong player, who had very few notes, but made a huge production of all of them.

No comments: