Thursday, October 28, 2004

Rain

Woke yesterday morning to driving rain -- it's great for the garden and great for the state.

Not very much to say; rehearsed with Gloriana on Monday, with Gombert on Tuesday, worked last night. It's almost as if I haven't been away...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Back to normal

Rehearsals galore... Went on Friday night to St John's to rehearse for next Sunday's cantat: Ein fest Burg which is a big sing. It should be good; we have a visiting music director from a church in New York who is very inspiring.

Then Saturday morning to rehearse for the Beethove 9; it's a shocker. The tenor part sits very high but also jumps around all over the place -- I suspect all the other parts are just as bad. After rehearsal had lunch at P&B's before we did the regular shopping run.

As we weren't able to get tickets for Gurrelieder B&P got tickets to see Simon Keenlyside singing and dancing in Winterreise, which I saw on Thursday. It was a great performance of the cycle, but I'm not sure that the dancing added much to the experience. One plus was the use of surtitles which allowed for instant translation. I cooked for DG on Saturday; it was a lovely evening.

Sunday to Mum's as usual -- Ian turned up after lunch with photos from his trip to Indonesia; quite a lot of them actually. I must get my act together and sort out my pictures.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sunny

Today is again glorious -- I started the day with a visit to the dentist who, much to my surprise, announced that he could see no signs of decay. Well, I must be doing something right. Then he proceeded to scrape and polish and I left with gleaming teeth but a considerably emptier pocket than I begin with.

Work is settling down though I still have quite a few things to catch up on after the trip. The new magazine theage(melbourne)magazine (someone should shoot designers who produce titles like that) comes out next Wednesday and I'm spending a lot of time chasing down hard copy, to say nothing of files for processing. It's big, too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Late again

It's been over a week since my last posting and I'm now home and back at work, alas.

After Edinburgh I headed off to St Andrews where I met my other second cousin, Audrey, and her husband Robin. They looked after me wonderfully and Audrey and I spent much time going over the Johnson family history. She also gave me a couple of disks of Johnson images, though I haven't yet had a chance to look at them.

The train trip back to London was a nightmare: the train was late arriving at Leuchars and had to wait for nearly an hour at Edinburgh as it had a faulty engine. And it was packed. We didn't get into Kings Cross until after 11pm. I waved at Durham cathedral as it floated by -- no zooming on British rail.

On Saturday and Sunday I met up with Leigh and we wandered and talked. It was great seeing him in London where we had spent so much time together in 1976 (goodness!).

Saturday evening saw Greg and me at the season-opening concert at the Wigmore Hall: Ann Murray and Steven Davislim singing Schoenberg's chamber arrangement of Das Lied von der Erde conducted by Paul Kildea. It was a great concert. The following Tuesday we returned to hear C├ędric Tiberghien play Schoenberg, Brahms and Beethoven -- with a complete Beethoven sonata as encore.

On Monday and Tuesday I attended the Internet Librarian conference which had its boring bits (what conference doesn't). The sessions on Tuesday were much more interesting than Monday's.

The return flight left on Wednesday evening (22.30) and was uneventful, if long.

I stepped out into the airport to find that Bruce had kindly come to pick me up. It turned out that it was his second trip as, because of my incorrect information, he had also come out the previous day. Sorry, Bruce, and thank you.

It's good to be home and by the end of this week I will have forgotten I was even away...

Tuesday night was my first rehearsal for the next Gombert concert which I'm singing in as Stuart T is still away -- I can't do the last concert for Gombert or Gloriana as I will be in Adelaide for the Ring. What a lucky boy I am this year: The Trojans and The Ring in the one year!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Edinburgh - at last

It's been a while since my last blog. Just a quick catch-up: The Trojans was good... and bad. Musically it was terrific with some great performances from, in particular, Dido, Aeneas, Hylas and Cassandra (though she did sound a little underpowered -- possibly because of the size of the theatre). The orchestra and chorus were also great. However the production left a lot to be desired; the third to fifth acts were slightly better, perhaps helped by a different designer for these acts, though there were sillinesses throughout. Still, I'm glad I saw it, though I'm happy we weren't in the gods -- heaven knows what you'd be able to hear from there.

Glasgow was a bit of a wipe-out: it was unfortunately very cold and wet. I spent all Tuesday travelling to Mallaig via Fort William and back, a trip which was less than successful as the clouds obscured much of the view. The sun did manage to break through a couple of times which made the exercise worth it.

This morning I caught the train to Edinburgh where the sun was shining (at least it was up until an hour or so ago). I wandered along the royal mile and took myself through the castle and finally contacted Audrey about my trip to St Andrews tomorrow.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The skies clear

Later yesterday (Wed) the sun managed to find its way through the clouds and provided me with a lovely view of the Alster (which my hotel "blicks" onto).

In the evening I walked into the centre of town and went to the concert by the NDR Choir. What a change from the Berlin group -- this choir is obviously professional (or at least semi-). The concert was part of a season of "Italy in Hamburg" and the concert included works by Gabrieli, Monteverdi, Nono, Dallapiccola and a new work by a composer whose name I have temporarily forgotten.

To cut it short it was a terrific concert -- the group was about 38 singers, divided for many of the pieces into two groups. In particular the Dallapiccola was very impressive: settings of two Michelangelo sonnets they were quite tonal and very dramatic. I think I would like to explore his work more. The Gabrieli and Monteverdi were also excellently controlled -- the conductor looked a bit like the young Tim Brook-Taylor, but we won't hold that against him.

This morning dawned bright and clear and I have spent most of the day in the train; this internet session (in Schiphol airport) is so far the most expensive I have encountered at 6Euros for 30 minutes. Gasp!