Kris and I joined Jeremy and Jennifer and Harrison and Emma last night to hear the Oregon Symphony play at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Thousands of people turned out to sit on blankets, lounging in the warmth of the late summer evening, eating picnic dinners as the symphony played Dvorak, Mozart, and Beethoven. The final number was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons. After the concert, a barge on the Willamette River launched a marvelous fireworks show. It was a great evening.

The kids were fun. Emma spent much of the night coloring. She wanted help, though, and she kept handing me crayons and saying, “You’re missing all the fun. You’re gonna miss all the fun, J.D.” I didn’t want to miss all the fun, so I colored with her. It was fun.

Later, I ate a cookie. Or three. Emma wasn’t interested in sharing a cookie until she noticed the colored sugar on top. “Can I have a taste of that sugar?” she asked, her eyes filled with greed. I gave her a cookie of her own but she didn’t eat it; she just licked off the colored sugar in great swipes of her three-year-old-tongue. (Okay, technically she’s only two, but she’s getting close to three — here are stories about another girl who is two-and-three-quarters.)

Harrison was fun, too. He’s nearly five now, and he’s curious about the world around him: he was reading a children’s atlas when Jeremy and I reached the park. He asks lots of questions about trees and animals and people.

The orchestra’s first piece was Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War” from The Planets. Hank had just seen Mars in the sky the night before (and how amazing was that? &mdsah; did you all see it?), and Jeremy tried to explain to him that the music was written about the planet. The “Bringer of War” thing confused Hank, though, so we tried to explain what that meant. It was difficult. Jeremy and Jennifer are trying to raise Harrison to worship the Christian god (a point on which I try to stay neutral with Hank when the issue arises, as it does from time-to-time; I don’t want to undermine what Jeremy and Jennifer are teaching, yet I’m not going to affirm something that I don’t believe, either — it’s a fine line to walk!). How does one explain to a five-year-old that Mars was the god of war for a group of people that lived thousands of years ago. That’s a bit abstract for a five-year-old, I think. Give him a couple of years.

Later, as the light was fading and the stars beginning to shine (and Mars was hanging low in the southeastern sky), Hank and I talked a bit about astronomy and atmospheric conditions.

“What causes a rainbow?” I asked him.

He knew, of course, because at this age he knows everything, and what he doesn’t know, he’s willing to make up on the spot. “Well, when the clouds come together and get really hard and fluffy after it rains, then it makes a rainbow.”

“And how big is a rainbow?” I asked.

“Forty-five miles up into the sky!” he shouted, jumping high to emphasize his point.

I love those kids.

The CD that Jesus gave me the other day is pretty damn good. It turns out it is from an Italian pop singer, a guy named Eros Ramazzotti. This particular album, Eros, has earned glowing reviews at Amazon (five stars in 41 reviews). Here’s an apt description of the album:

Eros marks a new chapter in the Italian singer and composer Eros Ramazzotti’s ever-growing international career. Offering a wider spectrum of Ramazzotti’s musicianship and the combination of well-crafted compositions and outstanding performances, the album is a great work of serious contemporary pop music. The CD covers different rhythmic feels, reaching its climax with “Le Cose Della Vita,” a song that perfectly suits Ramazzotti’s talent. His vocal style is one of the trademark qualities of the whole collection: a nasal, simply recognizable approach with a lot of intimacy and a great sense of expression that find its roots in the great tradition of the Italian bel canto. Eros offers the right balance between the important melodic Italian tradition and the complexity of today’s international pop music. Truly one of the most important releases on today’s European pop scene, ready to find its own place in the American market.

Last night as we were driving home Kris commented that one of the songs sounded like Tina Turner. I dismissed her remark out of hand. Tina Tuner? Ha! Oops. Turns out that one of the songs, “Cosas de la Vida/Can’t Stop Thinking About You”, does include a duet with Tina Turner. Another song, “Musica e”, a gorgeous theatrical piece ten-minutes long, features a duet with Andrea Bocelli.

My favorite song, though, is “L’Aurora”. I’ve been listening to it again and again. It features a perfect mid-1980s power pop song that I’ll be a sucker for all of my life. It could be a ballad by Heart or Boston or Jefferson Starship if it weren’t in Italian. I’ve uploaded a low-quality mp3 of the song (~1.3mb) for you to hear (though at this quality much of the song’s lushness has been lost).

Apparently, like many European pop singers, Eros records versions of his songs in different languages. Earlier I had the Italian lyrics of the song posted, but the version I have (and love) has Spanish lyrics:

La Aurora
by Eros Ramazzotti

Yo no se si me sucedera sue�os que se hagan realidad
como el que hoy tengo en mi corazon latente
desde que esta

Tal vez este permanecera sue�o que se haga realidad
como los que estoy dibujando entre mis canciones
y ya que estan mientras esten
no dejare de so�ar un poco mas

Sera, sera, la Aurora sera, sera, asi

como pasear como respirar un nuevo aroma
y mas aun

Y tu, y tu, mi vida
veras, que pronto volveras a estas manos que, seran

Y si ya que todo a cambiado
un cereno en torno se vera has oido bien
puede que haya nuevos horizontes
sabes por que, sabes por que, no dejare

de so�ar un poco mas una y otra vez
no muere nunca las cosas que estan en ti
si lo has creido una ves tu podras segir
si lo has creido en serio, como lo he creido yo, yo…

Sera, sera la Aurora sera, sera, asi
sera, la claridad que asoma una inmensa luz vendra

Sera, sera, la Aurora sera, sera, asi
sera la claridad que asoma una inmensa luz vendra

Sera la claridad que asoma una inmensa luz vendra
Una inmensa luz vendraI don’t know what that means, but I love the song!


On 29 August 2003 (12:28 PM),
dowingba said:

What Beethoven song(s) did they play?

On 29 August 2003 (12:32 PM),
J.D. said:

A description of the program can be found at the bottom of this page. They played the first movement of Beethoven’s fifth sympony.

When I was in college, the Oregon Symphony would play on campus several times a year. I loved to go. It was cheap then, though — maybe five bucks a performance. I’m not sure I could afford to drive to Portland to see the symphony on a regular basis now.

On 29 August 2003 (12:51 PM),
J.D. said:

Last night we discussed how much it cost to attend the symphony. None of us was really sure. Subscription information for the Oregon Symphony can be found here. Basically, to see them at the Schnitz costs between $15 and $30 per performance depending on your preferred times and seats. The symphony plays a reduced schedule at Willamette. I’m not sure how much the Salem concerts cost; that information doesn’t seem to be available online.

(Ah! I found another electronic device that allows communication: a telephone! Unfortunately the woman with whom I spoke seemed pre-occupied. She’s mailing me complete information. She was able to tell me that the minimum ticket price is $17 per concert. Since the Willamette concert halls are much smaller than the Schnitz, this is not a bad deal at all. Maybe I can convince Kris to join me for a couple of performances this year.)

On 30 August 2003 (07:12 AM),
dowingba said:

Symphony #5…phht, how predictable.

On 30 August 2003 (10:27 PM),
dowingba said:

That arnold schwarzennegger link up there, about gay marriage between a man and a woman: I guarantee that is doctored. That isn’t a normal mp3 burp there. It’s so obviously a cut and paste job…

Prove me wrong, JD, because you know how much I like to hate republicans…

On 30 August 2003 (11:25 PM),
J.D. said:

Well, I’m pretty sure it’s real. The stuff in the middle of Arnold’s sentence is just the interviewer trying to get a word in. More infor can be found here (including a link to the complete interview, I think).

I don’t hate Republicans any more than I hate Democrats. On average. They’re all a bunch of hoodlums, in my opinion. As I’ve mentioned before, I generally don’t pay much attention to national politics (though I really really hate the current President, and think he’s an incompetent moron), and most certainly don’t care about another state’s governor. If the Californians want to elect Arnold, that’s their business. I have nothing against him, and don’t want to take the time to be come informed enough to develop something against him (or for him), especially since his governorship won’t affect me.

There was a great piece from Garrison Keillor in a recent issue of Time Magazine in which he has fun with California over the whole Arnold thing.

Of course ignored amongst the hubbub is the question: why is the governor of California held to higher standards than the President of the United States?

On 31 August 2003 (05:45 AM),
dowingba said:

You’re right. I listened to it more closely.

The governor of California is more scrutinized than the President because even when Big Brother (bush) does something bad, he actually is doing something good. It’s doublethink.

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