36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 168: A Lulu of a day


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

Day 168 — A Lulu of a day
17-January-1972 (Montag–Mon.)


Today has been and will continue to be quite a day. First, I went to my horn lesson. I played very well. If I could play this way every time, I would feel like I’ve been progressing.

Then I went to the dentist. To get my broken tooth extracted and find out about a replacement.

Quite to the contrary of my previous American view of backward European medicine, the dentist’s office was the largest, most modern, most well-equipped, and most well-staffed dentist office that I’ve ever been in. The dentist, Dr. S., is also friendly and seems to be a good doctor.

My adventure was quite a happening. They had problems getting it out and I was moved to the surgical chair, whatever that meant. Anyway, I wish I could have made a movie of the view (my looking up vantage point) of the scene. It looked so “tough” ???? , the way everyone was staring down my throat. I think the dentist’s wife was also having a look… Anyway, it’s out and afterwards, for the rest of the day, I felt sort of dejected. I guess my tooth felt ejected. I will be seeing them again. I wonder how much it’s going to cost?

Then I went to my piano lesson. This was also quite funny, because of the way I tried to talk. Anyway, I had a really good piano lesson. Another good thing was that there was this really good-looking girl waiting for her lesson, with the cutest smile. I hope in reaction to my argument with the teacher. Anyway, it made me feel good. Maybe, I’ll even meet her again, I hope.

It is now later, and I have eaten, partially finished cleaning my clothes, and have less pain in the tooth. So, now I am going to see “Lulu” and then afterwards, I am expecting two calls—from Lucille and brother Mike.

Just came back from
Lulu. It was a lulu. Actually it was a pretty good job. It was a bizarre and nightmarish story and the music fit the job. For me, though, after a while, the 12-tone music lost its effect. Lulu was quite good looking.

A little experience that can open up your eyes. The weather in Wien is bitingly cold and windy. On the way to the opera, there was a blind young boy, who was walking alone and casually and determinedly asked me where a certain street was. I didn’t know and so he simply moved on. He was very friendly. I watched him keep on walking (obviously, not in a straight line but he kept on correcting himself) in the biting cold, actually not knowing where he was going. I realized then that my problems were nothing. Also, that someone, such as that boy, had the courage to overcome the tremendous obstacles and still get the most out of life—[that he] was a real man.

At 1:00 AM, got a call from Lucille. Better late than never??? Anyway, I hope I’ll be seeing them Thursday.


Whew! Today took up a page and a half in my journal. A busy and complete day. I’ll keep the reflections short.

A good lesson day. Well, I have both a good horn lesson and a good piano lesson. Why can’t that happen all the time? I’m noticing good looking girls at my lessons. Smiles always melt me (at least in my youth). Was she smiling at me? Or my hair? Hmmm.

Austrian dentistry. I have a broken tooth that needs to come out. I have a preconceived notion that European medicine is backwards. Needless to say, I’m in the most modern dentist office I have ever seen. Out damned tooth, out!

Berg’s Lulu. It’s appropriate that today was a lulu of a day because I go to see Alban Berg’s opera, Lulu. The opera’s story is not a pleasant one. Singing the part of Lulu is extremely difficult. Berg is known for his 12-tone atonal style and uses tone rows in association with the characters in the story. I enjoy 12-tone music and most contemporary music. Though, after a while it can be more difficult to differentiate musical ideas, themes and motives, when they are not rooted to tonality. I would love to see Lulu today in 2008.

Life lesson: A blind boy in the biting cold. After the opera, I run into a young blind boy who is lost and looking for directions. It’s night, it’s late, and it’s biting cold and windy in Vienna. Obviously, he made an impression on me. He doesn’t complain about his situation and disability and just moves on to finish his task. Myself, I often complain. Look at this journal. I should remember this incident more often. Don’t complain, just do it. Don’t let obstacles stop you. Just do it. Be a man.

Munich. A late night call from Lucille, a friend from Montclair State. They are going to Munich to sing. Looks like I’ll be heading there as well.


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