Sunday, 31 May 2009
For photos, an an explanation of our itinerary, you know where to go.
Had the usual array of surreal experiences, usually at the procession.
Walked over to the Middlesboro' banner looking for a someone who knew a Priest we were looking for and got the reply, 'Italiano,' when I asked after him, which was very funny. Said Priest was in fact on the bridge. You just had to be there, I guess.
When Mac and I got the bus up to the Parish Church, the driver stopped halfway up the town, got out of his cab and lifted a lady's case off. We carried on chatting and he stopped and pointed out the Church to us, all done with great care and a smile.
Having had a slight experience of hospitals etc over the past few weeks, I was very struck by the care given in the baths, which was second to none.
Everyone in the group seemed to have a very good stay there. How lucky we are.
My favourite bit was the walking tour, because the guide, who was I think the same as two years ago, is just excellent.
A group of Italians summed up the place one night after the procession,' Tutto. Uno.'
Monday, 25 May 2009
Saturday, 23 May 2009
Used not to like Gorecki too much. Heard his Harpsichord Concerto as a student and lumped him in the sub Arvo Part minimalist slot, then heard this.... and changed my mind whilst the first chord was sounding. Some music doesn't wait to work its magic.
You get a hint of just how highly charged the first performance must have been.
I think with a little tinkering it would be performable by a church choir, a little discreet doubling here and there. It's just too long to be put in a Mass.
PS If you don't like the audience noise, there's another recording with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
I went to the Solesmes site where you can have it sent quickly for E66 (sorry UKIP computer, clearly, no Euro sign.) I'd prefer to buy it from them anyway. Let's hope it arrives on Sat and that I'm in. Then I can take it to Lourdes and be all geeky. (Not that I need a book help me, mind.)
I also received this charming e mail in reply to my order.
'Les Editions de Solesmes has indeed received your order and thanks you for it.'
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Sunday, 17 May 2009
But I digress, for bara brith is approaching 10 to the power 4.
Other people may get to 100 000 or 1 000 000, but this is not a megablog, merely a microblog.
Will the 10 000th visitor be some lonesome expat googling bara brith, the food?
Or someone in search of Stockhausen's Mother?
Or one of the select, merry band of regulars?
We shall see.
I love the directions. Upon leaving the nearest station follow the river for an hour (add 20 mins for me, dragging suitcase behind whilst slapping on sunscreen,) in the direction of Solesmes and there you are. The 21stC left far behind already.
I'm beginning to think that it may be like one of those masterclasses where I leave my horn in its case and just listen.
Fortunately, Puella P has sent me a link, with lots of useful insights.
Anyone else going?
Time to start making my communting count, methinks.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
I teach in a boys' school where there are lots of different ties ranging through bog standard, sixth form, head boy, junior colours, half colours and full colours and a few more, prefect and senior prefect, I think.
Suffice to say, they matter a great deal to the boys. We've had boys in tears when we didn't award them junior colours for Music at the end of term. 'There, there, one more big concert for Second Orchestra and you can be differently striped.' Only the little boys, you understand. The big ones are more stoic in the face of such adversity. I tell you it's a great thing to have over them, when they don't show for a rehearsal. It's never actually articulated, but they know and we know what's at stake. A hand shake from HM and, a tie.
To me, a mere person of the female persuasion, however, it's all very masculine and I don't register any difference. They are all stripy. The boys meantime must be moving round the school clocking what to me is an invisible pecking order...
Friday, 15 May 2009
Feel sorry for next door, but not too sorry, cos the piano has a practice pedal, unlike the horn....
I've just played C major about 15 times and can do the full two octaves, putting my hands a cool four octaves apart. Impressive eh? 3 days ago I could only go down a twelfth with the left hand and found putting the keys down an effort and couldn't have done it 15 times in a row. Even turned the pages with my left hand whilst conducting this morning.
I also played the horn for about 10 minutes today. The school production merely requires five tootles through two hours of music on successive days in a month's time, but I can build up to it. It is, as they say, 'a serious smack in the gob.' In fact, flicking through the part it's like wind band music, no rests and no tacet numbers.
Back to wafting a broom handle around, all part of my physio programme from the hospital. I want to progress onto the seemingly impossible exercises next week and, after an unfortunate incident on Wed involving a tired Leutgeb and a full watering can, leading to painkillers and a swollen arm on Thurs, I have ground to make up.
A happy ending. Ha, teaching, never a dull moment...well apart from marking exam papers.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Friday, 8 May 2009
If people are unhappy about anything, that's when they get in touch and then I spend the weekend or holiday feeling rubbish, well used to, I'm a recovering worrier. After all, I'm not living in a war zone and my shoulder is getting better.
There was the Friday afternoon before a half term where a Father berated me for the fact that his son's blazer had gone missing - remind me not to hide the pupils' stuff.... shouted at me for a goodly length of time and then put the phone down on me. That was a few years ago.
The Friday afternoon when someone complained that the walkman (see how long I've been teaching,) that should not have been in school got broken in my lesson. Not me guv'.
Then today. So I went and had a chat with the Deputy Head and that should get sorted out as much as it can on Monday, because the underlying problem is out of the school's hands. This sidetracked me from the real task of the day, pressing submit on the Associated Board entry, closing time midnight tonight. I was just about to do it when I read the e mail. Fortunately, I can get at the entry at home and the 38 candidates are now entered. This was all in between being part of the audience for an A2 candidate's recital, overseeing an AS Composition recording, doing a timed techniques exercise with another AS Candidate, ordering some music after checking the BWV number in Grove and doing a String Orch rehearsal. Not all bad, by any means.
Oh yes and someone had a spare ticket for a Dress Rehearsal at Covent Garden tomorrow morning, so I shall be enjoying my slightly restricted view by looking at the orchestra. OK I am very lucky, all things considered. :-)
PS My cure for waking up at 4, 3, 2am worrying about stupid things that will in all likelyhood will resolve in due course, is to say the rosary for anyone else who could possibly be being kept awake by something serious
ie dying, in terrible pain, on death row, in fear of violence, hungry.....the list is endless.
That is not to say it's a case of ...other people...zzzzz, just the need for a bit of perspective.
The crazy thing is when something serious actually happens, I sleep fine and get on with it.
Monday, 4 May 2009
The last First Holy Communion Mass I went to was a few years ago for my God daughter. It was filled with well intentioned complications. The Bride and Groom don't have to read their own Bidding Prayers (ah Bidding Prayers-sadly cannot actually remember the last time I heard any, sigh and Paulinus has forever made me think of skate boarding ducks, so that's just as well,) so why get seven year olds, some of whom have only recently got the hang of reading to do it? Why not have them only concentrating on the task in hand? Grandma RIP summed it up by saying, 'It's not like it used to be,' and that's all she said. That was the strongest comment possible in her lexicon. Of the first 20 years of her life, 15 were spent in convents, so bitchy comments, just didn't happen.
Blah, blah etc. Which is all to say, if you are making you First Holy Communion, that's all you should be concentrating on and we could probably apply that to the rest of us too. Fussing over other stuff, is ...fussing.
walked by my house yesterday evening, on her way, presumably, to a party. She carried it off very well and didn't really look very self conscious, all things considered. I wonder if she had to duck to get through the front door.
Spent a 'flu free day, (well as far as one can tell,) going for a walkies with my folks and then having lunch at my brother's place. Discovered that he has a DVD of James Bond car chases....scary.