Friday, 29 January 2010

LMS Chant thingy tomorrow

at the London Oratory.

Anyone out there coming too?

PS I have officially broken my broadband at home and am therefore on a go slow bloggingwise, which is probably no bad thing.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Aid to Haiti

Just as lots (most, all) Parishes had collections for Haiti on Sunday, so it was in Blackfen. I was supposed to be singing when the collecting thing came round, so will have to make alternative arrangements.

Aid to the Church in Need

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Auditions Auditions

Just spent a couple of days hearing small people playing things which is always interesting and occasionally very enjoyable. It is surprising how quickly you can tell whether someone is good or not. Finished the second day with a 10 year old playing a Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier, which he carefully informed us was by JS Bach (Oh him). He played it beautifully too.

We always listen to all the pieces though as we have to be entirely fair No brilliant comic moments and I only had to engage the mute button in my head twice, which allows Music Teachers not to go mad whilst listening to notes of indeterminate pitch, rhythm.....

The Sunday Programme

on R4 is always good for a laugh when I am engaged in early morning cooking as I was this am. The generally miserable sounding Roger Bolton is about to give up prsenting the prog too. Who will replace him??

Anyway, I particularly like it when the person being interviewed does not conform to the interviewer's script. A classic was the elderly Irish Missionary Priest take hostage in the Philipines, who not only didn't have bad word to say against his captors, but rather praised them for trying to get the right medicines to treat his heart condition and said yes he was coming back to Ireland for a bit to reassure his folks and then wanted to get back to work.

Today of course they focused on Haiti and interviewed several Haitians in NYC, who were all very robust and positive. Then the lady from CAFOD (yes I know...) said that the Catholic Church was the only trusted instution on the ground that could do the bis aid wise. Then they interviewed the Christan Aid guy in Haiti who was a Haitian Catholic and said that yes his faith was fine thanks. Which is not to in anyway to underestimate the terrible suffering in that country, but just to highlight that the random selection of Haitians who made it onto R4 were very impressive. More please.

Anyway, where does this, ' Being a Christian guarantees you a cushy life,' idea come from? Can't be Catholic, all the Saints seemed to have a very rough time in one way or another and as for the Crucifixion....

In other news I've just heard Ed Balls use the phrase 'single relationship.' Is that me and can I have a special tax allowance please? Ed, you've lost it mate.

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Having been sat on the train a fair few times this week studying what I must conduct in the big concert this term, we hacked through it and did the spade work today. Now we just have to take it to pieces, practise all the wiggly bits and it'll sound like the piece it is. I can't have my favourite violinist on the front desk alas cos he's too young. The great thing is that they are up for it and have a great expectation that they will do a good job. It may yet be fine...

Monday, 11 January 2010

stand up 4 vatican 2

It's funny how when you google things you can end up on all sorts of websites.

Why, many expat Welsh people have been seeking a taste of bara brith and ended up here, in this backwater of the Catholic blogosphere.

For more go here.

bara brith; 'cos you can't have your cake and eat it.

Friday, 8 January 2010

This year and next's composer anniversary

Mahler has managed the double by having 1860-1911 as his dates. Fine by me.

The Times has a quick guide to his symphonies.

Mahler’s symphonies: what you need to know

No1 Also known as: The Titan
Four years after Brahms’s Fourth, the symphony goes feral. Includes a funeral march with added klezmer.

No2 The Resurrection
Mahler’s most obvious response to Beethoven’s Ninth, as a ride to the abyss finishes with choral salvation

No3 The one with a poem by Nietzsche
Mahler’s response to, well, everything, including plants, animals, mankind and, ultimately, love itself.

No4 The shortest one
Mahler scales back and adds sleigh bells. Culminates in a “child’s view of heaven”, which apparently includes abundant asparagus.

No5 The one used in Death in Venice
High on the “best of” lists, with the swooingly gorgeous Adagietto.

No6 The Tragic
Mahler’s most tightly constructed symphony, with the rarity of a fatalistic conclusion.

No 7 The unpopular one
The weirdest and shadowiest, with two movements of “night music” Also has a part for a mandolin.

No 8 The Symphony of a Thousand
Intended for a thousand performers, the choral symphony is still a monster and concludes with a huge chunk from Goethe’s Faust.

No 9 The farewell to life (possibly)
Either saturated with death or full of affection for a life well lived, depending on your POV.

No 10 The unfinished
Possibly we shouldn’t even be performing it. Mahler only orchestrated the adagio, the rest was completed (twice) by the musicologist Deryck Cooke.
Neil Fisher

1860 is also the year my Great great grandmother was born in Co Clare. The eldest of 13 children, all of whom survived, she was picked out at 10 and told by the local Priest that she would be a teacher when he built a school in a nearby village. She became a teacher and appears in the 1880 census as such. The dozen younger siblings? They all emigrated to America.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Venturing out

to Brighton for Epiphany was perhaps a tad mad, but the trains were basically fine and I'm very glad I did. Crazy, but well worth it, very like the trudge to Mass for Candelmass, but without a sledge.

As my PP is, to quote the parish newsletter, 'still at the Vatican,' one was forced to go further afield for a Mass.

Thanks to Clare for putting me up and for letting me sing in her schola.

The Liber-on-loan got a little outing too.

I returned to find that the friends-round-the-corner had written in the snow on my car. It now has a big smiley face on the bonnet. :-)

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Musical Mishaps #1

An occasional series, but don't worry many many stories.

On Christmas Day I sang in the Choir at Midnight Mass and we sang lots and lots of carols. Practically every single one in fact apart from, 'The First Noel.'

Went to bed at 2.30am, got up at 7.30am, texted Mulier Fortis a 'wakey wakey' text, had my birthday breakfast (cereal and coffee, yum) and went off to pick up the rest of the choir. All was going to plan until the crucial 'ding' for the beginning of 9am Mass. For I had switched off the organ because it makes that motorised windy sound. Either side of the manuals is a fair amount of stuff, piled up to the top of the swell keyboard, so you can't see the switch or any useful red or green lights. Actually, I don't know if there are any lights...

Anyway, 'ding,' went to play the intro to 'Once in royal' no sound, switched the thing back on, thought I'd left enough time for the pressure to reach critical, but hadn't, started to play and got a drunken glissando up to pitch.

I'd like the lack of sleep to be taken into account, though as we finished 'Hark the Herald' the real organist returned to do the 10.30 Mass.

Friday, 1 January 2010


I have several common ones

At work

from tutor instead of form tutor
muisc for music

from parents

letters to Ms Leutgeb, whoever she is and Mrs Leutgeb who is my late Grandmother, Mother and most happily sister-in-law, but not me.

but whilst blogging

scared music for sacred music. A Freudian slap?

Anyway the generous people at the CMAA have just sent me the latest edition of Sacred Music and they are scared of no-one. I've now paid my dues via paypal, so hopefully they will continue to send it to me.

After lots of stuff about orchestral Masses and Haydn, presumably on the back of the anniversary there is a review of a book called most aptly, 'Keep the Fire Burning,' and I'm up for a can of petrol as the subject is the history of rubbish music in church. How it got written, published, disseminated etc.

Best quote from the book?

'Interestingly, most, if not all, of the original class of ordained or professed Folk-Mass composers [this stuff involves vows?]eventually left the religious life.'

The reviewer, Jeffrey Tucker, then adds, 'The non-religious left the Catholic Church altogether.'

Christmas Cooking

I have to content myself with the fripperies as my Mum is Queen of Cooking Chez Leutgeb and if truth be told it's just nice to go back for a few days and have dinners cooked for you. I was having a chat with a school friend about going home and the importance of just being there. What did we do? We were just there.

Anyway, I did make the three Christmas Cakes and then had my own party on the 28th and made a Victoria Sponge and mulled wine along with all the other party type things you expect. Actually, I'd been to two parties the day before and some people brought leftovers from those as well as the gingerbread church you've already seen elsewhere. (She who impressively made it was there too and supplied a very popular plate of cookies! The boy who made the lego altar pointed out the six candles to me - it's all in the detail!) Fortunatley, a goodly amount of food had been scoffed so there was enough room on the table for it.

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010 to everybody.

Been busy doing Christmas and Birthday things, for Christmas Day is my birthday and now it's 2010 already.