I was sent off to review Menlo's first winter-series concert on Friday. This one was, as described in the review, tied in with a lecture on Thursday. Usually I go to any associated events with a concert; the pre-concert talks at Symphony Silicon Valley, for instance, are often exceedingly useful for background information on the performance. But despite the importance of this lecture to explaining the literary background which was the purpose of choosing the repertoire for this concert, I didn't go. I was up in the City Thursday evening listening to the SF Symphony play Borodin and Shostakovich.
Maybe I should have skipped out on that for the lecture. But I read the program notes, which were written by the lecturer (who does most of Menlo's program notes and other audience curating), and buttonholed him for a quick interview during intermission, to try to replicate a sense of his presentation. I did present this as best I could in the review. But it was still fuzzy: for instance, he told me that the connection of Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio with sketches for music for an unrealized version of Macbeth has been debunked, but the program notes describe it as real. I could have delved into the Stanford library and researched this, but I didn't have time before the review was due, because I was attending two more concerts that weekend and reviewing them too. (One was the piano recital I described here; the other hasn't come out yet.)