Sunday, July 08, 2012

Health and music

The last few times I've seen the doctor they've been a bit concerned about my blood pressure - last week Dr J gave me a blood-pressure machine to take home for a week. I took readings every morning and night and returned to see her last Friday.

As it turned out, my BP sits just above the recommended normal range, so I am now on medication (an ACE inhibitor, I think it's called). This brings my daily medication to two per day, as I'm already taking a statin for my high cholesterol levels.

On Friday night I met ST at Melba Hall for a concert of works by Tom Henry. The first half was piano works played by Jennifer Enchelmaier; after interval was Ken's Spree for clarinet and piano, based on Scottish themes. This was followed by settings of seven poems by South American poets, including Borges and Neruda, though these were set for piano, clarinet and cello rather than voice. The poems express the idea of life as a river. These seven pieces were exquisite, with some very beautiful interplay between all three instruments.

Then last night P&B and I went to the Town Hall to hear a rare performance of Berlioz' Grande Messe des Morts, commonly known as his Requiem. It was being performed by the Intervarsity Choral Festival accompanied by the Melbourne Youth Orchestra conducted by Brett Kelly; Daniel Todd was the tenor soloist. The performance was a great experience, particularly the entry of the four brass ensembles in the Tuba mirum section, which was breathtaking. The choir sounded great and Todd made a good fist of what is not an easy sing. 

I think the last time I heard this work in performance was at a Prom concert in Melbourne in the early 70's, when the soloist was Ronald Dowd.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Travel memories, etc

I'm just watching the lovely Joanna Lumley presenting her Greek Odyssey program. Tonight she's visiting Corfu.

What I find interesting is that when I first travelled overseas, in 1976, I spent a few days on Corfu on my way from Italy to Athens. However, I find I have almost no recollection of my time there. I do know that I learnt to play backgammon from an American girl in a taverna, while drinking retsina, I think. Watching Joanna Lumley's program provides me with absolutely no sparks of recognition ...

To be honest I don't have many firm memories of my first trip - I know I spent about two months back-packing around Europe visiting, among other places, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece. Over the years I've revisited many of these places but have never returned to Greece. Not sure if I ever will.

In other news I've got a last-minute gig on 3MBS tomorrow. It's the Midday program; it's already programmed (by JvB) so I just have to present it. Then I spend the rest of the afternoon on Reception before coming back at 7pm to present Music for Keyboard.

This evening I booked for the Berlioz Requiem on Saturday (with P&B) and for Bill Bailey in September (with LE). 

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