Posted on May 5th, 2011
It’s the first of May, and it’s already 54°C. Outside it’s sunny and breezy with petals from flowering trees blowing by the window. Freshly showered, I ask myself “what does one wear to go see Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor?” And, perhaps more importantly, what does one drink?
Last night, we queued up Amadeus on Netflix Instant to get ourselves good and psyched. I’ve probably seen the movie about 20 times so far, and I first saw it on VHS around the same time I was keeping pet mice– somewhere between 9-11 years old. I was also very into classical music at the time, so I absolutely loved Amadeus and named one of my prettiest mice Constanze. And just last night, using streaming Internet technology, I was exposed to the Director’s Cut of the film in which Constanze exposes herself to Salieri– WTF, LOL!
Interestingly, while “Salieri” shows up underlined in red in my Word document, “Mozart” is recognized and accepted by Spell Check. Ouch. A mediocrity that never dies, enduring entire technological eras.
Maybe I should just wear shorts and shirt or something.
Well, I’m wearing something I ordered from an Etsy shop, and I’ve decided that Prosecco will be the star of our pre-Requiem cocktails. We’ll need the bubbles to keep us afloat through all that heavy Latin and those turbulent arpeggios.
I just bought a bottle of Chartreuse, and have been looking for things to do with it. Some people I know would recommend that I “open, pour on to the ground, walk away” but I asked Google instead. Right at the top of page one is a recipe harkening from a Dallas, TX news website called “PF’s Poinsetta.” Yellow or Green Chartreuse, basil leaves, ice– shake hard, strain, and top with Prosecco. It’s very reminiscent of Nyquil, and would be a lot better if I had lemon basil at hand. Any tartness contributed by the Prosecco is out-competed by that prickly medicinal taste of Green Chartreuse, and the basil just makes the whole thing more sinister.
It’s my husband’s turn, and for him it’s pretty much always Pimm’s O’Clock. Being from the UK, he associates Pimm’s with leisurely afternoons and semi-cultural pursuits– just like seeing a performance of Mozart’s Requiem! So without even consulting the Internet, his hand is on the bottle of Pimm’s and he’s adding a splash to our Prosecco. The color is a medium amber, and the taste is piquant. The amount of Pimm’s is just enough to let the tartness of the Prosecco be apparent, but the spice is definitely keeping it in check. It’s good– definitely better than PF’s Poinsetta– but a bit confusing. It’s like a pomander fart.
The clock is ticking towards our departure but there’s always time for a third. I’m reaching for a personal favorite, Grappa and Chamomile liqueur. Hopefully this will be delicate enough to pair nicely with the Prosecco. Oops, I think I poured too much in– probably just starting to feel the bubbles is all. I’m adding some lemon juice to cut the sweetness. It’s good, but potent. Halfway through and I’m about do something I don’t normally do. I’m going to add an ice cube, just to kick it down a notch because it’s Requiem time.
We’ve arrived early and have been shown our seats, so we’re heading off to explore the room with all the bar stations in it. Good and simple offerings pervade, but there are even isolated champagne bars serving cognac. Since I can’t bring myself to drink “house tonic” I’m going with house vodka and soda. Symphony Hall, I absolve you!
The performance has started and they’re warming us up with some Handel. If we had neglected to get our bubbly on at home, this Dixit Dominus would have been plenty effervescent. DIXIT!… DIXIT!
Intermission, during which I used my Smartphone like a total cultural loser, has passed and we are now knee-deep in Requiem. Whenever I see classical music played live, it always seems like they’re playing too fast. Just like Salieri whines when Mozart is dictating his final work on his final breaths, “You go too fast! Too fast!” According to the program notes, some guy who anonymously commissioned works and copied them under his own name had picked Mozart to write a Requiem to honor his dead wife– basically, Mozart got spammed. Salieri was just a guy who wrote boring music.
REX TREMENDAE MAJESTATIS!
Overall the performance was a treat. It’s always inspiring to see a large group of people working together to make such a tremendously fine sound– and when they all stop at once, it can be breathtaking. But now we’re en route to post-Requiem cocktails to create a nice boozy sandwich out of the experience. Just like Mozart would have done.
We’re here at Deep Ellum in Allston, MA and I’m trying really hard not to order a Ramos Gin Fizz. At least for now. Instead, I’m going for The Bohannon even though I don’t know what “Swedish punsch” is– I’ve got to ride the Chartreuse wave.
My Bohannon has arrived and someone seems to have torn open a little packet of airplane pepper over its pale sci-fi green surface. Again, the taste is mostly Chartreuse and I’m starting to wonder why I paid $57 to keep a bottle of this stuff in my home.
People in period dress just started showing up to celebrate the debut of a local brewing company’s East India Porter. Fine. But do they have to play twinky military march music with rat-a-tatting drums and piccolos… on a loop? To counteract all that is going on here, I’m going to order a Bourbon Rumba.
The march is ongoing, and one of the costumed people tried to make merry with us, but the Bourbon Rumba is smoothing down my hackles. It’s tart and rich-yet-refreshing, and makes me feel bad for people who are scared of eggs in cocktails. I’m going to have to start pulling “Easters” on friends and hiding eggs in their drinks.
Believe it or not, the music is still looping. I really hadn’t planned on LARPing tonight, especially if it doesn’t involve powdered wigs and a harpsichord. This time I’m choosing my drink based on how easy it would be to knock myself unconscious with its serving glass– so, a Moscow Mule, served in a nice big frosty copper mug.
Miraculously, just as I’m finishing my Mule, the music has stopped! The costumed folks are all tucked in at the bar, and now I think it’s time to end the evening on a good note with a Ramos Gin Fizz. This drink is very much in the spirit of W. A. Mozart– complex, immature, and as the fictionally deranged Salieri and I might agree, the taste of the voice of God.
RAMOS DEI SALVE ME, FONS PIETATIS!