September 1, 2013 leonard slatkin

As I write this, vacation is about to come to an end. Having a nice long stretch of time off proved invaluable. Among other things, I wrote a piece for woodwinds and strings that will be premiered in the 14-15 season. This was something I had planned for a long time but needed an extended period in order to complete the work. It has turned out to be just what I intended.

There was a lot of baseball viewing, both in person and on TV. The Tigers are looking pretty good for the playoffs. One thing that was surprising: no matter where I went, when I wore a Tigers cap, people invariably stopped me to comment on either the team or the city. This really never happened when I was in St. Louis. Guess it was assumed that things were okay there.

Although I did not do any studying, I kept up with various pieces of news from the musical community. The usual shenanigans at Bayreuth, the horrendous situation in Minneapolis as well as assorted items from other places around the globe. Things were pretty quiet as far as Detroit and Lyon were concerned. In France the whole country goes on holiday and it is impossible to find anyone.

Cindy and I had ten wonderful days in Hawaii. I had not been there since I was a teenager and in those days, one did not travel to the big island or Maui. I preferred the former simply because there was less to see and do. The pineapple and sugar cane industries have moved to the Philippines so those tour options were not available. There were volcanoes, however. A trip up the mountain made this visual treat possible. I brought marshmallows just in case. Learning the Hula was a no-no. Ukulele lessons were another matter.

The rest of the vacation was spent at home. Michigan is so lovely at this time of year. The Angelino in me came out when I bought a Big Green Egg. This is a combination barbeque and smoker grill that has been receiving a lot of attention. I fell in love with it and there was not a day when I was not cooking on it.

In mid-August, there is something called the “Woodward Dream Cruise.” Woodward Avenue runs all the way from downtown to Pontiac, a total of almost 25 miles. Starting on 10 Mile, cars of vintage years drive up and down the street, causing all kinds of traffic jams. It is better to stay away from the area unless you want to view the proceedings. Our house is about 250 feet from this roadway, so all we had to do was walk a little to see the classics. Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros and all the luxury liners from the 50’s were paraded. The owners had spiffed up their vehicles and the sight was a nostalgia lover’s dream.

One thing struck me as both odd and amusing, although unintentional. People start camping out along Woodward starting three days before the event, as several owners test-drive the route. Many of these spectators are elderly and perhaps do not realize that they have set up shop in front of funeral parlors and cemeteries. Perhaps they should rethink their locations.

By the time vacation had ended, I felt much improved. It is not often that I take four weeks in a row to rest, but this time around it was necessary. As much as I have enjoyed working the summer circuit, it is probably time to reconsider the workload at this time of year. I still need to write at least two more books. And there are other projects that have been put off for far too long.

The first part of the season will be spent in Lyon, with concerts at a couple of Festivals in France and Switzerland. It will be nice to get back to the orchestra but I know one thing for sure. After so much time off, my arms are really going to hurt after the first rehearsal.

See you in a few weeks,