Wednesday, March 30, 2005

(Sort of) sick

I'VE BEEN out of circulation for a day or so. I had nasty headache accompanied by general malaise so I spent yesterday mostly horizontal having large naps interspersed with reading binges; and I actually slept for about nine hours last night.

I feel mostly better today but still didn't do much except play around with Picasa/Hello, as you can see from my efforts below. All I have to do now is scan in more old pictures and buy myself a ditigal camera so I can upload more recent ones.

IF YOU'RE wondering why a picture from last year has suddenly appeared here it's just that I've finally got around to playing with Picasa/Hello which allows me to add pictures to this blog. I hope to have more soon.

With Stuart in Amsterdam last year Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Home again

I have just come back from a wonderful weekend in the country; Newstead to be precise. Unfortunately B was not feeling well so I caught a train/bus combination to Castlemaine where D picked me up.

The weather was glorious, but apart from an extremely delicious dinner at the Farmers' Arms Hotel in Daylesford (the non-trendy side) on Saturday night I did very little to write about. Reading and resting was the order of the day plus the occasional meal. On Saturday evening after dinner we watched most of the first series of Kath and Kim, which we both pissed ourselves at.

On the way home today we dropped in to visit J&T at Vaughan Springs -- they have a lovely house with a great garden which J has done herself using mostly plants native to the district.

I rang when I got home and P said that B is feeling much better. It was a big shame though that they weren't able to come. Then to work for the evening shift.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bach again

GOODNESS, doesn't time fly; it's Wednesday already and I haven't posted about Sunday's performance of the St Matthew Passion. Well we got to the end with only one (small) train crash. (Which is an unfortunate term to use considering there were two fatal train crashes in Melbourne over the last few days. Sorry.) The penultimate movement (in which the four soloists sing with both choirs) just sort of unravelled at the end and slumped to a very inelegant mess. Marco looked very upset, and we all looked embarrassed, but then he raised his arms and launched us into the final chorus.

On the way through there were a few instances of various sections of the orchestra and choirs getting out of time with each other, but nothing else quite as startling. On the whole I think it wasn't a bad performance. The audience seemed to enjoy it; many of them were deeply involved, and I didn't hear a peep from any of the children. Soloists mostly sang well, though the tenor, while he has a great voice, obviously didn't know it as well as he would have liked -- not surprising, considering he only got the gig a week before the concert.

On Sunday evening DR came over again to watch Miss Marple; afterwards I gave her a brief introduction to Geraldine McEwan as Lucia, which she found amusing.

Monday night saw us rehearsing for tomorrow's lunchtime concert at Scots Church which went off well -- two new tenors (Lachlan and Alessandro?) actually knew the Poulenc which was very encouraging.

B got back from Sydney on Monday and he and P came for dinner last night. We made some tentative plans for Friday's excursion which we will confirm tomorrow night. Unfortunately I might have to miss German again tomorrow as there seems to have been some confusion on the rostering front and I might have to spend the time processing stories at work instead.

Work again tonight.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Half way through the musical marathon

LAST NIGHT's concert of Pärt's Kanon Pokajanen (Canon of repentance) was great. Sure there were a couple of little glitches but it flowed really well and I think the audience was mesmerised. P & D certainly seemed to enjoy it. Pärt writes in a musical language unlike any other and all his own. On the page it looks fairly easy, but putting it all together and making something wonderful out of it takes a lot of hard work.

I feel now that I can relax. After last night today's St Matthew Passion feels like a doddle. At least we get breaks today, last night was straight through. Tat should arrive soon and we'll set off for the German church where we're called for 12.30. Marco's handling of Thursday's rehearsal has soured a few people about today, but I'm still pretty keen. It is, after all, terrific music.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Fun with Marco and Johann Sebastian

LAST NIGHT'S rehearsal was, as I had expected, long and hard. We started about twenty minutes late and it just went downhill from there. Marco ranted and raged at the orchestra and choir two (choir one and the soloists escaped generally unscathed - although the Evangelist suffered as Marco kept repeating links which involved him), and generally kept worrying at bits like the proverbial dog with a bone.

It wasn't without its highlights though, the major one being the extraordinary, ethereal viola da gamba of Miriam Morris -- it was glorious. Truly a ray of light illuminating the patchy work the rest of us were doing. I hope the VCA students appreciate the artistry in her playing.

The soloists are good though Chris (bass) needs to use a little light and shade. The tenor soloist (who only got the gig a week ago and has learnt it in that time), while a little unreliable in pitch, has a great voice and should have a big future.

Unfortunately we didn't finish until 11.30 which means that this morning I'm absolutely knackered -- tonight's Pärt rehearsal should be fun. With luck I may be able to sneak away a bit early and catch 40 winks this afternoon.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

92 today

I CAUGHT up with Mum yesterday for lunch (before my evening shift). It's her 92nd birthday today and as I'm not able to visit her on Sundays for a while I took myself over mid-week. She saw the rheumatologist earlier this week and got cortisone injections in her ankle, knee and shoulder. They've done the trick as she's obviously walking more easily; she walked down to the front gate with me when I left, something she hasn't done for some months.

In other news I'm still frantic, but there is an end in view. Tuesday's Gombert rehearsal went off well; tonight is four hours of Bach with Marco which could be more than a trifle fraught. There may well be tears before bedtime.

Because of tonight's Bach rehearsal means I'll have to miss German -- when all the singing is finished (for a while, at least) I'll knuckle down and do some serious catching up.

Reading: Jared Diamond, Collapse
Listening to: Bax, Symphony no. 6, Costello, Il sogno (yes, it is Elvis)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

One down...

THIS afternoon's concert went off very well. There were a few glitches and a general tentative feeling in the Sheppard, but Andrew seemed please. The highlights in the second half for me where When David heard of Weelkes and Harris' Faire is the heaven, which both felt really good. A reasonable audience all seemed to appreciate our work. Both DR and P came.

I have a night off tomorrow, although I do have to work (it's a public holiday); I'm used to that after 28 years. Yes, last week was the 28th anniversary of my working at The Age. It passed unmarked, but it's a bit of a shock to realise that I'm only two years off 30. Retirement can't be too far away...

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bach soon

morning's Bach rehearsal was a bit of a mess. The orchestra was good, but the choirs left quite a bit to be desired. And without wanting to blow my side's trumpet, choir two, which was very light on with only one soprano, were obviously not up to standard. But to be honest choir one was only slightly better. A lot of work needs to be done by many people.

The church is very small (I think smaller than St John's, but we're told not) and our arrangement is very cramped. I'm very glad we're getting a chance to repeat the performance in the South Melbourne Town Hall in April; it will give us all a chance to perform it in more relaxed circumstances. And it gives us all a few more weeks to get the notes ingrained.

After rehearsal Tat dropped me home and when P arrived we went, mit Jeep, up to Smith Street to shop. A quick meal after and then home.

Friday, March 11, 2005

B has gone off to Sydney for a week or so so P and I will have to shop on foot tomorrow -- do us both good. But not until after my rehearsal: we have three hours with the soloists and orchestra for the Bach in the German church (just opposite St Pat's) tomorrow. Last night's rehearsal with Marco showed us all how much we need to do on our own. The first choir was a bit light on with people too, which didn't help things much.

Tat was late last night (not like her) -- she got stuck in traffic on Hoddle Street. Then in Swan Street. Mostly all customers for Cirque du Soleil.

P is coming round tonight for a meal; we thought we'd get takeaway from the Sri Lankan place around the corner. It was lovely last time we got it. I'll just cook up some rice and we'll buy the rest. Yum.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

No visitors...

I JUST looked at my site meter and discovered that no-one has visited today. Probably because there's been no change for almost a week. That's because my life has retained its pattern of work, rehearse, shop, rehearse, eat, etc.

Watching on TV: Shameless, Desperate Housewives
Listening to: Bach St Matthew Passion

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


IT'S SILLY -- I lay in bed this morning mentally writing this blog post, but do you think I can remember any of my searingly witty and pithy commentary?

So, it's been more of the same over the last week: work, rehearsals and eating. The first German 2 class went off OK, though it's hard to tell after just 90 minutes. Though since then I have realised I need to do a shit-load of revision -- I've forgotten so much. I sat down today with the text and worked through some exercises, but it was all a bit depressing.

After German class I sprinted over the river for the first rehearsal of the St Matthew Passion. Graham took us through most of the choruses for both groups and, while he attended a church council meeting, we sang through all the chorales. This week Stephen Grant will be running the rehearsal with Graham at the piano.

On Saturday night DG and I went for dinner at B&P's: lovely Stephanie's lamb cooked with onions and beans (lots of lovely fibre for P) preceded by french onion soup. I took a bottle of the Torbreck Woodcutter's shiraz we'd bought on our Adelaide trip. Delicious. We discussed plans for Easter at Newstead.

Then on Sunday (lunch at Mum's as usual) I went down to DG's to help him with his computer. I installed IE6 and tried to set up his Gmail account, with limited success. In return he cooked me a wonderful roast chicken followed by yummy Xmas pudding.

Despite all the food mentioned I am seriously trying to cut down my intake and mostly succeeding. I'm making myself eat smaller portions and, in particular, eating less at lunchtime. Making my lunch is the easiest way to avoid canteen temptation and helps me finish off leftovers. We'll see if it has any effect.