We had a good chuckle last night at the opening line of the introit for Evensong, Charles Wood’s O, for a lay!, though at least we were professional enough to get our snickering out of the way at the start of rehearsal. I was at St. James’s, Sussex Gardens, my third church of the weekend, directing the music, and alongside the Wood we performed music by Byrd and Stainer’s God so loved the world.
Despite the fact that Stainer was Informator Choristarum at Magdalen, my alma mater, I perform The Crucifixion only grudgingly, believing it to contain all that Victorian melodrama that has aged so badly. Still, as a professional musician you need to give one hundred percent one hundred percent of the time, so we treated the music with the care and respect that should be accorded to every performance, to approval from the congregation.
Other composers I encountered over the weekend included Mozart, Lassus, Stanford (immaculately written, as ever) and Victoria, a real smorgasboard of styles and techniques, but all with something to say and all of which provided an opportunity to learn just a little more.
My favourite part of the weekend, however, was in my lunch break on Sunday, when I headed back to Hounslow and purchased the item pictured below, my trusty Toyota having finally wheezed her way to the knacker’s yard on Friday morning. A little money from my father’s estate made this purchase slightly easier, also the gentle nudging from my better half that I should at last choose once more a car that would make me smile.
I am sure that my father, who owned Lancia Fulvias and much other exotica in his time, would have approved, even if he might have been surprised, as was I, that I eventually plumped for a Vauxhall rather than an MX-5. At the lights tonight, on the way back from an hour-long top-down drive two young boys leaned out of their father’s people carrier and gave me the thumbs up – “Alright? Nice car, very nice car!” Thanks, Pa.