I hope that the reason I wasn't sent to review any concerts from the Cabrillo Festival this year, even though I live fairly near it, was not the hot water I get in with some readers for my insufficient respect for the avant garde, but the simple fact that I was out of town for its first weekend. The reviewers who did cover it live considerably further away than I do. And we weren't covering anything from the second weekend.
Instead, on that weekend I was sent up to San Francisco, which is nearer to where those other reviewers live, to cover a group piano recital. Piano recitals are not normally my specialty, nor is most of the music played at this one, but fortunately my reviewing ears were sufficient to distinguish each pianist's quiddity of style.
The word I had trouble with was one to describe the music of the composer Federico Mompou. I'd been listening to it, so I had an impression but hadn't yet thought of words. Then before the work the pianist quoted another pianist as calling it "music of evaporation." Pretty good, I thought, but to quote it myself I would have had to credit both of them, and I was already pushing my word limit. The phrase I came up with was "took impressionism to the last degree of vaporescence." My copy-editor said that was a great if obscure word, but that it was also the brand name for a pot-ingesting device, and did I want that connotation? I let him suggest "evanescence", which when I looked it up proved to be closer to my meaning than I'd thought it meant, and so I get to look erudite.
I had been virtuous in attending this concert. It was a Spare the Air day, and I took the train. The venue was near the other end of the line for the bus that serves the train station, so that was easy enough. I was even early enough to have time to stop off at the main city library, which is also on the bus lines, to look up a copy-editing query for Tolkien Studies in a book they happen to have there.
Interestingly, as before the lecture I attended last week I'd eaten at Wise Sons, one of SF's two good NY-style delis, because it was right near the venue, this venue was right near Miller's, the other good NY-style deli, so I had another cup of matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwich, which is what I always have at delis.