Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lincoln and Rachel In London: Day 4

No photos for this post, I could say because I didn't catch anything particularly remarkable (really nothing that there aren't already thousands of photos of on the web) but, honestly, the main reason is it's nearly 11pm here in London and the internet has slowed to a crawl -- so I don't have the patience to wait for them to upload. I may append photos at

After our late night, we got off to a slightly later start this morning, first heading to the British Museum -- the British equivalent of the Library of Congress, and home to the Magna Carta, original music scores from countless well known Composers, and an impressive 6-story cube of books originally collected by a king. I think Rachel went over the edge a few times, but I nearly lost her to excitement when we visited the Conservation Center's display -- for a bibliophile who also studied conservation and book binding, I think we found her nirvana.

Whilst waiting for our bus to our next destination it occurred to me that I have now spent more tine in the capitol of the United Kingdom than I have in the capitol of my own country [My entire experience with Washington DC consists of driving to the city from Richmond, circling for 45 minutes trying to find somewhere to park, before throwing up my arms in exasperation and driving back to Richmond].

Our next stop -- after a quick pub lunch where Rachel finally got her Fish and Chips -- was the British Musuem, home to an impressive collection. While comparatively little of the collection actually appears to come from within the United Kingdom, it does house quite a collection of world treasures including the Rosetta Stone (and a modern facsimile visitors are invited to touch) as well as a impressive collection from the Greek Parthenon. Of all things, I found the gallery on Money most interesting.

Departing the British Museum, we stopped by Foyles flagship on Charing Cross -- while it is said to be the world's largest bookstore, I didn't get the impression that it was nearly as large, or that it held nearly as many books as Powell's "City of Books" in Portland.

We returned to the hotel for a bit to rest and freshen up for our evening activity -- hearing the London Philharmonic Orchestra play in Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, Rachel's anniversary gift to us. While I was not in the mindset to produce my usual commentary on the piece -- and being wholly unfamiliar with the hall (but not the two headliners -- conductor David Zinman and pianist Emanuel Ax are no strangers to me via the Cleveland Orchestra, and I was pround to see both referenced Cleveland in their program biographies) it would not be well based. The program included Mozart's Symphony No. 38 ("Prague"), Strauss's Burleske (Emanuel Ax, piano), J.S. Bach's Piano Concerto No. 1 In D minor, and Strauss's Tod und Verklarung.

It was a lovely evening of musing (save for someone's personal attack alarm stopping the performance near the beginning of the last piece) but the hall sounded a bit more 'woody' and burnished by comparison to what I am used to at home in Severance Hall.

Most remarkable, however, is the singing elevator -- erm, lift -- in Southbank Centre. In a near chant, while ascending levels, the voices ascend octaves and do the reverse while descending -- and singing the floor numbers along the way. It really made Rachel and I laugh -- fourtunately, you too can experience it: Someone has posted this video on YouTube, and the lift has its own Twitter account.


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