Friday morning I rather obsessively double-checked the online listing for the string quartet concert I was to review on Monday, only to discover that the scheduled ensemble had canceled (someone taken ill, it turned out) and been replaced by another group with an entirely different repertoire. What a relief that at least the sponsoring group updated their website! A lot of organizations wouldn't bother to do that.
Let's see: Mozart and Mendelssohn, ok, in fact I just reviewed another performance of the same Mendelssohn quartet two weeks back; Stravinsky, I have that work; Thomas Adès, uh-oh. I am not reviewing a quartet by so thoroughly intricate a modern composer without studying it first. The score I can photocopy from Stanford, but what about a CD? Stanford has it, but I have no access to their CDs. The nearby public library that recently started charging out-of-town borrowers $80 for a year's card has it; is it worth $80 to me to get it from them? No. I could buy a copy for less than that, but would it arrive in time? It's not as if I can just pop down to Tower, or even Barnes & Noble whose CD selections have been whittled down to nothing, any more. Check WorldCat for a broader library search. Santa Cruz. Forty miles away and over a mountain. They have it. At a branch closed on Friday and Saturday, and I'm busy on Sunday. All right, Monday morning over the hill to Santa Cruz I go. Now I have seven local library cards, and a CD of the Adès to feed my ears as my eyes examine the score.
Running around like this on Monday leaves me tired enough to be slightly zoned out during the concert. (This is why I like to relax on concert days and get there early.) I sit down afterwards at home to write my review not entirely sure what I'm going to wind up saying. It comes out like this.