Nothing assuages guilt better than the knowledge that it was worth it.
Leaving work at noon to attend a concert is fairly conscience-troubling, even for me, but the Philadelphia Orchestra's performance yesterday totally made it worthwhile. Just hearing the orchestra perform the Emperor Concerto (with Helene Grimaud at the piano) would have been justified being there, but the surprising highlight of the concert (surprising because really, since when has the highlight of any performance featuring Beethoven being anything but the Beethoven?) was Ameriques - Edgard Varese's riotous evocation of the urban jungle, which sounds like the love child of an unholy but gleeful union between Stravinsky and Lorca. How can you not love a piece that's scored for: "bass drum, chimes, cymbals, gong, lion's roar, low rattle, orchestra bell, fire siren, sleighbells, snare drum, tambourine, triangle, whip, and xylophone" (italics mine), not to mention heckelphone, contrabass trombone, celeste and two timpani?