Even though I can feel that I miss playing chamber music, it really doesn't become visceral until I actually have a chance to sit down and play some. Isaac Krauss, Keith Chapin and I (that's 3/4 of an old quartet I used to play in!) met up tonight to play string quartets with Caroline, a local violinist that Isaac knows. Vienna Teng is here in-between Boston, Philly, and... Boston (she drives a lot), and was happily dragged along to listen to us play through Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Before we started to read, Isaac took us to Grand Sichuan Eastern, whose food Nick, a China scholar, claims is the best he's had outside of China. It certainly tasted authentic, and they even had a second menu/pamphlet which compares "American" Chinese food with authentic Chinese food (e.g. "Americans cannot eat all parts of the cow."). Isaac told us a story about some visitors they had from somewhere in the middle of America where there are no minorities. Naturally, he took them to this restaurant. The kids were utterly unable to eat anything except for steamed rice, and half way through the meal, the parents asked for some "butter" to season the rice with, resulting in general confusion between them and the wait staff. Because, you see, the staff didn't know what butter was. YEAH! That's my kind of restaurant. We ate "la tze ji," a big bowl of hot peppers mixed in with a few chicken bits. My entire body lit up and it gave me a huge buzz, despite not tasting extremely spicy. Pretty damn cool. But don't expect friendly service. Half-way through dinner, they started speaking Mandarin to both me and Vienna (they pretty much ignored Isaac). That was fine. But when Vienna replied (in Mandarin), they responded with something just barely warmer than complete indifference. Vienna yelled (in her head), "We're American! Can't you see that? We had the white guy order!"
Additional culinary delights for the evening: Chris made fresh scones while we were reading. They were the best I've ever had. :) And, I saw for the first time a 2 1/4 pound hunk of horseradish! Its phallic shape seemed to imply a reason for its naming, but we were just speculating, since none of us had any real knowledge about its etymology. :)
Anyway, back to the music. We read through the first of Mozart's Haydn Quartets, Beethoven Op. 74, and Schubert -- I think it was the Quartettsatz D 804 "Rosamunde," in A minor.
I miss it. I really, really miss it. [see some photos]