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The end is nigh!  It will all finish on Saturday and maybe, just maybe, I’ll have my Sunday morning coffee out in the garden.  My happy crew of builders (today’s menu: fruit shortcake, digestives) are (is?) optimistic that a decent stint of graft over the coming days will see the project finished in time to crack open a bottle of fizz on Saturday evening, Lent or no.  Patches of green have begun to appear as the turf goes down, the first time green has been seen in that garden since long before I acquired the house, and it looks like the Dalek invasion of earth has begun, although that could just be the compost bin and the water butt waiting to be put into position.  One of my builders muttered about frost this morning, which is not something I have had to worry about before, so I shall have to add that to the list.

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The current state of the garden in the early sun.

Yesterday evening was spent with the Parliament Choir, continuing our rehearsals of Haydn’s Creation, and when we are firing on all cylinders it sounds pretty nippy.  I would heartily recommend that you come along to our concert on April 9th – it should be a genuinely exciting evening.  Creation, of course, just gets better and better with familiarity – apart from the obvious there are all sorts of wonderful things going on underneath the surface, and I am becoming progressively more beguiled by Haydn’s choice of key throughout the work, which I think is worthy of the deepest admiration and study.  This is no random selection of “what sounds nice” but instead a magnificently crafted (there’s that word again) scheme which underpins the joyous approach to the text.  It helps that he ends up in Bb major at the end of Parts II & III, of course, his favourite key for rousing choral music in his final decade.

I am still in the phase of tidying my latest batch of completed pieces before I plough on with some new ones.  After shoring up Homebase’s finances this morning I shall need to collect my latest piano piece from the printers (very pleased with this one), and the corrected version of my choral piece is also being ejected from some photocopier somewhere today.  Then I need to take a deep breath and get on with some new projects, two of which are quite big.  One of those is also going to require a decent amount of groundwork (strange how that word sprang to mind, what with the garden situation), but I am up for the challenge.

As all the garden things have had to come through the house, my gaming space has disappeared for the time being, which is something of a shame, for regular readers will know that I enjoy pushing cards or wooden cubes around bits of cardboard, but I have treated myself to a couple of gems in expectation of (whisper it) outside gaming over the summer, so I sit here awaiting the arrival of Yinsh and Tzaar, both very highly regarded abstracts.  They form part of Project Gipf, a series of abstract (which means non-thematic) games designed to fit together as a whole.  I played a couple of rounds of Gipf itself online yesterday evening, a kind of Connect4 on steroids, and was surprised and enchanted by the depth of play which bounced off very simple rules.  Given that the two I have ordered are much higher rated in general I am looking forward to the postman’s arrival.

Gipf – what happens to Connect4 when it grows up.

I also have the pleasure of listening to piles of Scriabin over the coming fortnight, lecture preparation.  I love his piano music and the Hyperion CD of his piano sonatas is one of my very favourites, the abrupt change in style between sonatas 3 and 4 always eliciting a little chuckle from me.  It is not hard to find the point at which he stopped imitating Chopin and started using his own voice.  That mature voice is something very special indeed, and not heard often enough.

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