On Wednesday night this week the boss & I did culture. We went to the Finlandia Hall to hear the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The excuse months ago when I bought the tickets was no more sophisticated than to get a chance to get into the building and the tickets were reasonably priced and the programme offered the possibility to hear Sibelius' Symphony #4. However a late change in the programme meant we were actually treated to Tchaikovsky's Symphony #4 in F Minor instead. It is a piece of music I have known for a long time and have loved. Researching it post concert well I read that structurally it is an awkward peice of symphonic composition I have to say that as a piece of live music it was simply wonderful. The Orchestra did a wonderful job and I have slightly more idea what a conductor is for.
Much later that night as I was in bed and not quite asleep and not quite awake the memory of Caspar David Freidrich's "Wanderer above a sea of fog" came to mind as a partner to the symphony. It seemed to encapsulate and speak of the same themes. Given that both works originate from the same time it is not unreasonable to think of them in the same breadth. I cannot begin to describe how that painting has been a direct influence on me and it feels natural to see the wonderful symphony we saw been linked to this painting.
Then on Thursday night I went out to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". In a strange way Brad Pitt's subtle performance (with one or two exceptions which I am generously waving through as a playful nod to David Fincher's advertising past) seemed to mine a similarly forlorn romantic vein that gave the two evenings an unexpected but not altogether unpleasant resonance.
At the end of the movie people applauded which my Finnish colleagues at work told me is unheard of in Finland. Personally I think this movie deserves all of it's 5 Star reviews. It is no flawless masterpiece but that I think in a way adds to its charms. It does however continue the trend of movies which feature the impossibly beautiful Cate Blanchett being, well not as beautiful as she is.
Now I have to figure into all of this the reading of Revolutionary Road which I have found to be surprisingly gripping tale of Suburban Americana. I just hope that it falls off the rails in the way it is always promising to do.
Updating this post a few days later I can assure that this book has fallen off the rails in the most harrowing of ways.
Now amongst this strangely comforting mix and fusion of Romantic late nineteenth century art & music, 1950s America and 21st Century movies the kitchen managed to produce some passable food this week.
Chicken with Taragon and Capers
This is not a French recipe but it does give a generous and respectful nod to their cuisine. We used frozen chicken from the freezer making it even easier to cook on a busy weekday.
2 cloves of Garlic
4 assorted pieces of chicken thighs and wings
1 tin of tomatoes
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
1 good lug of red wine vinegar
Plenty of tarragon
2 tablespoons of grainy French mustard
1 tablespoon of capers
100g of mushrooms
Salt & Pepper
Heat the oven to 180C.
Put everything in a heavy bottomed pan
Put it in the oven for 3 hours plus
Serve with sweet potato mash