Originally, I wasn't going to make it either to NYC for my father's birthday, or to Richmond for the R1 event, but eventually I realized they'd work well in tandem! My father was definitely pleased that I made it to his birthday dinner, and they got one more ticket last Tuesday for Thursday night's Brahms concert.
Let me tell you, the New York Philharmonic does a mean Brahms! They're in the middle of a big Brahms festival, with several performances scheduled this month featuring a variety of Brahms music, and Thursday's concert was just spectacular. I love classical music, but mainly in small doses, so I was very pleased to be able to enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour performance so much.
The violin soloist for one of the pieces, Julia Fischer,
is so spectacular that when the concert was supposed to break for an intermission, the New York Philharmonic played an almost-unheard-of encore instead. The New York Philharmonic has a bunch of recordings in the iTunes Store,
and I'm going to have to look for some of this Brahms soon.
If only dinner at Picholine
before the concert had been quite as exceptional! It was good, but I've had a better meal there before. Nothing really leapt out at me as an amazing dish, with the possible exception of the dessert they brought my father for his birthday. When my mom made the reservation, she told them it was for his birthday and asked them to decorate whatever he had for dessert, so she got scared when he decided he didn't want to order one. The restaurant did the classy thing and brought him something anyway, with a "Happy Birthday, Paul" drizzled in chocolate across the bottom of the plate. That warm apple brioche was certainly the best thing I tasted that night! The bread was tasty, the foie gras torchon with duck prosciutto was very good, and the venison was good, but nothing "popped," I guess. They renovated last fall, and the place does look quite good, though.
Sorry, no photos from Picholine, as I didn't bring my Nikon and the Pentax wouldn't have been up to the task. Just as well I left the Nikon at my parents' house; Avery Fisher Hall has a no-cameras policy, and I would have had to check it on the way in and wait to retrieve it on the way out. (No one noticed the Pentax in its belt case, and I didn't volunteer it. I just left it tucked away.)