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The heating worked for about ten minutes yesterday, and the engineer has already come and gone today.  Thankfully, it is a glorious day outside with fantastic views towards the sea, although still a little chilly to be doing my orchestrating in the fresh air.  The views from where we are are quite enchanting, the birds flutter across the skyline and often there is the timeless chiming of bells as the local goats tread into view.

Another decent stint this morning, coupled with the work done on the Runnymede version means that I have made it to the final stretch of orchestrating of 1215.  The first two parts are now complete for orchestra, at least in version one, and the third is getting there, with only around twelve minutes left to cover.  Since my daily rate has exceeded that by a decent amount, there is the possibility of getting the entire piece done tomorrow, although, more realistically, I might spread the work over the next two days and then spend the rest of the week doing some proofing while I get on with finishing O God Of Earth And Altar.  Getting them both done by the end of the month would feel very good indeed.

We did a little exploring around and about yesterday, finally ending up in a little bar and facing off for eight tense games of backgammon.  I am used to flailing around like a fish out of water in this game, but the stars were clearly aligned for me, for once, and I closed out the games by a score of 6 to 5, although the set lacked a doubling cube, so I have no doubt I would have been soundly thrashed had the set been complete.  It was fun, though, and although the bar itself was pretty much empty, it nevertheless had what one might term atmosphere.  There was even a picture of Beethoven on the wall, so I assume that he must have been a regular, as well as Gandhi, Amerigo Vespucci and Bob Marley.

My next bout of lecturing is on Cesar Franck’s Violin Sonata, which I have played once, listened to countless times, and believe is a work of the very highest quality.  The recording I own is performed by Kaja Danczowska, accompanied by Krystian Zimerman, coupled with some lovely music by Szymanowski, another composer close to my heart.  It is a stunning disc, one of which I doubt I shall ever grow tired, and it helps that Franck’s work shines brilliantly every time I revisit it.  Cesar Franck is a name well known to organists – in fact Liszt said that some of his organ works were the best since Bach, which is high praise indeed – and it is a shame that so few people outside the organ loft know of his writing, because it is very good stuff.  Franckly speaking (see what I did there?) the Violin Sonata should be in everybody’s collection, and that Danczowska recording is as good a place as any to start.

FRANCK, SZYMANOWSKI / Danczowska, Zimerman