May 18, 2015

Today I went on a tour of Moscow by bus. I got to visit the pond where Tchaikovsky walked and was inspired to write Swan Lake, a World War II memorial with a church, mosque and synagogue, the Novodevichy Cemetery, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, and a Russian restaurant. Afterwards, I went to a concert at the House of Music and watched the first performance in Russia of all three movements of Scriabin’s Prefatory Act.

The cemetery was very interesting because the tombstones are very unlike American ones. Many of them had statues and busts, and one unique one had some musical notation in tenor clef. The cemetery is the primary one in Moscow, and many famous people are buried there. Graves that I visited include Stalin’s 2nd wife, Shostakovich, Boris Yeltsin and Chekov. I took many pictures, but I want to go back and be able to look around more slowly. Afterwards, I had potatoes with several kinds of meat and Russian salad for lunch, which was served at a restaurant one of our Russian student interns introduced our group to.

The Scriabin concert was amazing. Apparently it was the first time the entire piece had been performed in Russia. No one else knew the piece, so I tried to explain parts of the background behind it to everyone afterwards. My seat was close to the harps, so I was able to hear them really well. The principle oboe player was also good. My ticket was only 800 roubles. The wind was quite cold, but fortunately the rain stopped during lunch time. I’ve come to quite enjoy riding the metro and I wish we had it in Florida.

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