All the voices in a symphony

One of the first things I did after moving into this neighborhood years ago was to check out if the Fort Myer bugle calls were live or recorded. The latter, turned out. With Army buglers running low, one understood.

But it was unexpected/fun recently to discover the U.S. Army Orchestra playing concerts at the fort and go to see one. I met up with Lori after work, and we hustled over the highway to join a decent neighborhood crowd, some old, some young, some very young. The orchestra played selections from Barber of Seville, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ modern viola moods and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. The symphony debuted at a concert to benefit soldiers in 1813; the setting was right. “Passionate aural representations of the heights and depths of human emotion can be found in this compact masterwork,” the program said. I looked for other summaries afterward, but I liked that idea the best, of the piece addressing emotion without forcing context. What came across in the ensemble was conversation — interaction, collected voices, in joy and sometimes anger — or lack thereof, an overwhelmed person’s escape into a helpful lonely room. One section made me picture a child trying persuade a crowd of loud adults, maybe soldiers, to let him tag along.

The orchestra’s concert hall, Brucker Hall, was comfortable and easy to reach, even with a full-car security check — open your trunk, hood and all the doors — on the way onto the grounds. You should go sometime.

Afterward, pizza at Pupatella, still my favorite Arlington pizza place, up there regionally with 2Amys, and a surprisingly in-depth discussion of John Denver. Beethoven worked on poems, prayers and promises too.

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