Saturday evening we braved the dark and stormy night to go hear the Seattle Symphony Orchestra perform. We had front row third tier seats, which while fabulous for sound are vertiginously terrifying, as one is seperated from an untimely plunge onto patrons below by a not very high railing. Gives a je ne sais quoi frisson to the whole experience. We heard a piece by a French composer, Chabrier, a cello concerto by Schumann, and Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. The SSO conductor, one M. Ludovic Morlot - unforgettably renamed Ludicrous Merlot by one M. Beloved Spouse - has introduced several French composers to Seattle symphony goers, Chabrier among them, along with Varese, Dutillieux, and others. The cellist playing the Shumann was wonderful, but I didn't much like the piece. Perhaps Schumann is an acquired taste. The second half of the concert, however, was wonderful. Berlioz, according to the program notes, was obsessed with a young actress he saw perform the role of Ophelia in Hamlet, and wrote this symphony as a result. It was... bizarre, but amazing. The final movement, called The Witches' Sabbath - not sure why - was about the most rousing finale I've ever witnessed. FOUR bassoons, nine violas, two harps, seven basses, the usual raft of violins, lots of brass, and several "skin beaters," as the beloved spouse calls percussionists. Many loaded guns, so to speak, and all went off. Absolutely gorgeous. I feel so lucky to be able to hear such music.