36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 069: The early bird gets the book


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 69 — The early bird gets the book
10-October-1971 (Sun.)

Brass band in park


Have been getting up very early with the idea of getting a good ticket for [the] Bolshoi. Doesn’t work. At 6:30 a.m. I’m #225. Some people waited all night.

Made my breakfast this morning—different. Eggs.

Went to Vienna Choir Boys [Vienna Boys' Choir] mass [
Messe “Pater Noster” by Jacobus Handl-Gallus, I believe.] Enjoyed it but not as much as last week. The music was why. Nice polyphonic music, which all sounded like madrigals.

A beautiful day—like summer. Just walking home—through the parks and beautiful buildings—made me really feel great. It’s an amazing difference and contrast. (1) Working hard all day. Practicing and studying. Usually in a practice room. Usually routine and frustrating—with a lot of pressure. (2) Enjoyment of walking through the city and parks, or going to musical events such as the opera.

I’ve been reading a tremendous amount of English books (4 so far), usually at night and waiting in the opera line. Just finished John Hersey’s
The Child Buyer—a really interesting book. Humerous; but with chilling implications. About a “genius boy” who is to be bought and “assimilated” into a project—resulting in a loss of the values of life and education as we know it. Becoming a machine. Someday, this would be a great story line for a multimedia opera which would be able to be somewhat humorous (satirical) but with a sense of “universal truth or meaning” at stake.

I hope that when I read this at a later day, I won’t feel that I’ve been an idiot.

Feeding the ducks in the park
Afternoon—walked around and took some pictures. I really enjoyed it. It’s less frustrating then my music. Also saw a brass type band playing in the park. Sort of a type of high school band. I enjoyed watching everyone’s expression—reminded me of high school band. From Munich—everyone wore leotards. Now, who would wear them in a U.S. typical high school? Ha! There was also a really good, very young, trumpet player. Enjoyable.

Night (from 4:00 to 11:00) saw Tchaikovsky’s
Pique Dame (Queen of Spades) by the Bolshoi. Very enjoyable again, not as many choruses. Tchaikovsky-type music. Excellent leads—and some beautiful arias. Very enjoyable.


Early bird. The early bird doesn’t always get the worm. Getting in line at the Staatsoper at 6:30 a.m. got me position #225 in line. I forgot that the Bolshoi Theater Company was a major event in Vienna. The Viennese went nuts over them. Certainly, they are an incredible performance company.

Morning mass. Today is Sunday and it’s time for church. Once again, I get to see the Vienna Boys' Choir perform at a mass. I think that I will be seeing them regularly at Sunday masses.

People on benches in park
Life contrasts—a beautiful day. I reflect on the contrasts of trying to improve my horn playing and practicing, compared to the simple joy of walking through parks. Life is full of contrasts and so that’s ok (see Day 057, Hot cold, Ying Yang). We work, we play. We Ying, we Yang. We sleep, we work, we sleep, we work. Not much more needs to be said.

Reading. 36 years later, I still can’t figure out what I was trying to say about John Hersey’s The Child Buyer. Do I have to find the book and read it again?

I read a lot in 1971. I enjoy reading a great deal, and I’m reading more now than ever before. For some of us, it’s relaxing. It lets you explore different places, worlds, history, and people, and learn about sports, computers, software, science, cooking, aliens, and a million other things.

"A book is actually the first time machine ever invented. Low-powered, great gas mileage, conserves energy, uses clean energy (your brain)—and it helps digestion. It’s an amazing invention."—John. [Grammar Girl, help me obtain immortality with this quote. Thanks.]

Two horses talking
Young readers. I know that younger kids don’t read as much as they should. When I was in grammar school and Jr. high school, I used to join these school book clubs (maybe Scholastic) and buy dozens of paperback books at very cheap prices. I still buy a lot of books, but now they’re at very expensive prices. We didn’t have the distractions that are here today—computers, PlayStations, the Internet, iPods, videos, MySpace, and hooking up (whatever that means). We only had TV. (Sky King, The Lone Ranger, Zorro, and Bonanza) That’s it. That, and those boxes where voices came out of them.

That’s ok. Don’t worry. You’re all fine. You’ll start to read more as you get older.

To be fair, I will say that for a period of time, when I was gradually becoming
aware of things, I started to focus on reading breasts in some old Playboy that someone had discarded. Not to worry, those phases in life, as with all phases in life, pass. I think.

Try to find time to read for pleasure if you can. You’ll enjoy it.

Band in the park with Strauss
Band in the park. I did find a picture of some trumpet players in tights in my photos. I thought they were from Oktoberfest, no, they’re from Munich. Just now, I’m getting the connections between Oktoberfest, Munich, the Olympics, and the Vienna-Munich festivities. They were very good high school players. It’s nice to see young people excel at whatever they enjoy. In this case, it was playing their instruments. Nice. It could be sports, photography, rapping, music, or just being a good student.

I’ll post some pics from this day in this post.

Night opera. A Tchaikovsky opera completes the day with another performance by the Bolshoi.

It was a long day, a good day. Good night.



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