Benjamin Britten, England, Faustus, Holy Week, JEBO, Johann Sebastian Bach, Kensington, Manuel Cardoso, Mark Radcliffe, Orient Express, Palm Sunday, Paul Sartin, Prosecco, San Juan, Six Nations, St John Passion, viola, Wales, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In the end, of course, England rolled over and ran out of momentum on Saturday evening, but I was reminded later that night that I am probably around 12.5% Welsh, so it was not all bad news, and certainly not enough to put the Prosecco back on ice.
On Sunday morning I was playing in Kensington, although most of the music, including a lovely Renaissance mass by Manuel Cardoso was unaccompanied. Even so, we are moving towards Palm Sunday, Holy Week and all the marvellous music that entails. Since leaving my cathedral duties I encounter less of this repertoire than I used to, and have a little more free time as a result, but I am still involved in a St. John Passion, some Mozart, Britten and even some O’Neill before the time comes to open up the chocolate eggs. Of course, it is the Bach I am looking forward to the most, my annual trek through the glories of this work one of the highlights of my musical year.
I also did some teaching yesterday afternoon, mainly trying to instil a sense of order and restraint on a student’s Bach chorale harmonisations, and then pointed myself homewards to relax and get in a quick game of Orient Express (a draw) and a tense encounter of San Juan (I lost), but not before I had had a strange experience with the BBC website.
I had logged on to find out who had won the Grand Prix, given that, in these days of post free-to-air Formula One, I no longer enjoy the dubious delights of getting up at strange o’clock and sitting on my own in a darkened room surrounded by laptops with various timing screens. Result apart, I kept being drawn to a small window on one of the BBC website’s pages, before realising that the gentleman pictured was a contemporary of mine in those (now) far off days when I was a university student. He’s certainly doing well enough now to have a live session with Mark Radcliffe (who reportedly described the first JEBO album as “too whimsical and pastoral”, so he obviously knows whereof he speaks).
I haven’t seen Paul Sartin for some years, but it is really heartening to see him making his name in what is apparently the “power-folk” circuit. Although he studied music (for which, read Classical music), his heart was always in folk and I have very fond and very hazy memories of several very late nights spent in a pub in Oxford while some improvised folk happening went on around me until the early hours. It is also great to see him making serious waves in what has always been his musical home – more power to him, and I encourage you to listen and perhaps buy.
Meanwhile I did a little more work on my viola piece yesterday, and I expect progress to be slow over the next couple of days while I get some more teaching done, but then I hope that my new timetable will kick in and bear fruit, even if it has not quite worked as intended thus far today.