You know how I'm always complaining about people annoying me at concerts?
Well, I was at this concert today - a performance of Bach's Mass in B minor  by this ensemble called the Vox Ama Deus - and I thought for once things were going to turn out right. Two people who seemed to be from the UPenn music faculty on my right and a nice middle-aged lady with impeccable taste  on my left. A few kids in the audience, true, but far away and seemingly well behaved. No couples liable to start making out in the middle of a movement. No obvious snorers. All in all, the signs seemed propitious.
The concert started. Intermission came and went and still no one had annoyed me. Finally, we were in the home stretch - the Agnus Dei - I figured nothing bad could happen now.
And then, just as I was starting to relax, the conductor, the BLOODY CONDUCTOR breaks off the performance in BETWEEN MOVEMENTS to deliver some sanctimonious little homily about 'Our Lord Jesus Christ' who died on the cross so we could be saved, and 'Our Brave Soldiers in Iraq' and on and on and on - five minutes of pure blah which not only bored the ears off the entire audience but, more to the point, destroyed all the carefully created momentum of Bach's Mass, so that when he finally got around to playing the final movement it was pretty much impossible to step back into the music. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who would do that to Bach doesn't deserve to be an usher, let alone a conductor. If there is a God, Valentin Radu will be struck by lightning on his way home tonight (thus making him a conductor of an entirely different sort).
I don't know who this Valentin Radu guy is, but if he really feels so strong a need for a soapbox I suggest he join politics or becomes a school principal or something. Anything but a musician. Oh, and Mr. Radu, if you're reading this (which I very much doubt) the whole prima donna I-am-so-moved-by-the-music-I'm-going-to-stand-there-with-my-eyes-closed-for-five-minutes-after-the-end act? Not cool. If you want to go in for cheap histrionics like that, I suggest you get yourself a rock band.
 My fourth concert featuring Bach in a week. Life has been busy.
 By which I mean that she agreed with me that the violin soloist (Thomas DiSarlo) was atrocious, the soprano (Bonnie Hoke) mediocre, the flautist (Colin St. Martin) superb and the mezzo soprano (Jody Kidwell) sublime. I don't usually strike up conversations with people at concerts, but when the person sitting next to you claps for the same people you do and, more to the point, stops clapping for the same people you do, some conversation seems in order.