Sunday, February 24, 2008

Catching up

Last week I spent Monday with Mum, as she had had a severe nose-bleed on Saturday. My brother discovered on Sunday that, judging by the stain on her mattress, she had lost quite a bit of blood. As Bro had appointments on Monday I took a day off work and went over to Mum's. While I was there I rang her ENT specialist (who had cauterised her nose the previous week) and explained what had happened. Via his receptionist he said not to worry, that it wasn't unusual after a cautery to have a few more bleeds.

She seemed all right, if a trifle drowsy (but then over the last few years she has had a penchant for nodding off in her chair).

Bro was keeping an eye on her during the week and when I went over for lunch today she was a good deal brighter.

On Friday evening I went to help LE with her new iMac - she was having trouble burning DVDs. We fiddled around for a while before heading off for a very tasty meal at the new Spanish-style restaurant cum tapas bar Añada in Gertrude Street.

On returning to LE's I realised that our problems might be solved if I looked at the Leopard for Dummies book I'd given LE when she got the computer. Following their directions produced the option of selecting the speed at which to burn the DVD. The default was x8; I tried it at x2 and it worked perfectly.

Yesterday morning was the Slow Food market at the Abbotsford Convent. As it was the opening of The Age Food and Wine Festival it was very busy. I managed to get a refill of olive oil from Mount Zero (thanks to B for the bottle) and some tasty but tart new season Jonathan apples. Supermarketing was followed by more food for lunch chez P&B before B took me home in Phoebe the Yaris.

Last night, I spent a pleasant evening with Dr D and the Lotus Master - we had a tasty Vietnamese meal in Victoria Street before adjourning to my place where we continued the chat.

I just heard yesterday that AC, who has been working hard at the Wigmore Hall, has just got a new job as chief executive at the Brighton Festival. He and DP are coming to Melbourne for a visit in late May/early June so there will be much to discuss.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Singing and a birthday

Back to Gloriana rehearsals this week. What fun - it looks as if it's going to be a very interesting year. You can check out the details here. I've sung a few of the works in the first and second concerts, but the third mostly unknown territory.

I never thought I'd sing in Ligeti's Lux aeterna; add to that the Sven-David Sandström paraphrase of Purcell that Tat and I heard performed by the Danish choir Camerata (in February 2006), and concert three looks decidedly scary.

We're also doing a lunchtime concert at Scots Church on Holy Thursday, and later one in Hamilton.

The other main highlight of the last couple of weeks was B's birthday last week. It was pretty low-key, despite it being a big one; I went to dinner on the day to share P's delicious vera bolognese. There was a larger gathering held on Sunday afternoon which I had to miss but we meet again for dinner tomorrow night. All we ever seem to do is eat ... not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Johann Sebastian and Rufus, a very mixed week of music

Last week I finally caught up with MG who I hadn't seen for too long. Her daughter LB is in Melbourne directing a play at Trades Hall and I saw her briefly before M and I went for lunch.

On Tuesday we had a rehearsal at St John's for the service today - the cantata (Herr Jesu Christ, wahr' Mensch und Gott) was not so difficult for the chorus (no "runny bits") and includes the glorious soprano aria (Die Seele ruht) with the singer accompanied by solo oboe and a pair of recorders over a pizzicato bass. Today's performance went off very well. The other soloists were the ever-reliable Jerzy Kozlowski (a bass with a real trill) and the newcomer Robert Macfarlane from Adelaide.

On Friday I wagged rehearsal to go and hear Rufus Wainwright in concert. It was a very enjoyable evening with Rufus singing a number of songs from Release the stars, as well as many others. His one bad choice was to sing Macushla accompanied by french horn, saxophone and trumpet without amplification. Having heard many trained singers perform in Hamer Hall it was very telling to hear how little he was able to project into the space.

His voice is tonally quite interesting (not conventionally beautiful), immediately identifiable and, when amplified, is well controlled, though I still have problems with his diction (I think he could even rhyme "you" and "me") - but he is a very personable performer and delivers a very entertaining show. The seven supporting musicians were excellent although the sound mix was very bass-heavy for the first half of the show.

Last night F&E, two women from work, came for dinner - we had a lovely evening and it was great to get to know them out of the work environment. Next time's at their place.