Friday, October 30, 2015

Dinners, and a show

Yesterday Julie was on leave so I was able to devote some time to fixing the glitches in the Theresa B Reflections program (and I was quite happy with the results). It turned out that Laila had had some trouble with the software the night before so, after a bit of consultation, I was able to fix most of her problems as well. Also managed to get more of Xmas morning programmed. However this didn't leave me with much time to start the Sibelius program - I did at least get all the music ripped and saved it onto a thumb drive, along with the narration files, to work on at home.

Last night with P&B was dinner at Pope Joan as arranged by Scion Winery; Kit and Ben joined us. It was a great meal with copious wines.

Shopping this morning as usual, but only P and I lunched as B had come down with a cold over night. Then tonight, after a quick meal at Tiamo, we met up again with K & B at the Carlton Court House to hear one of the very last performances of Little Black Bastard. Noel was very moving.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Catching up

Another busy day today: first I went to the radio station to record the narration for the second of six programs about Jean Sibelius with Geoff H, then I had to record some drop-ins for Doug B's interview with Theresa B before catching the train into town to meet up with David G.

He was in town to return some books/CDs to the City Library solo I suggested we have lunch at Journal Canteen; it was very nice. It was great to see him and get up-to-date.

Then later this afternoon I saw JBS at the Health Centre for my six-monthly "grease and oil change". BP was quite low, the first time in ages, and she left it to me as to whether I stay on the statins. I'll wait until I get the results of the tests back.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015



Yesterday and today were taken up by this month's mailout, punctuated by choir practice last night.

All in all it went very smoothly helped by the excellent performance of the new printer printing renewals and labels without jamming once. Hallelujah!

The delivery of the On Air magazines yesterday afternoon was also a great help. Despite not getting a huge turn up of helpers we still managed to get the job completed by 2pm.

Last night's rehearsal went well, but if I don't do something about improving how I sing I may have to throw in the towel soon. I have a possible teacher in mind and will contact her soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ein feste Burg (part 2)

This morning I was up early and into St John's by 8am. We had a run through as is usual practice and then retired for Marian's delicious croissants.

The cantata went off very well and Joseph B waited afterwards and drive me home. He was helping out this afternoon at the Young Performer Awards; I decided not to go.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fly Away Peter

Radio station this morning, plus a brief side trip to the market to get a refill of olive oil. Then I put on a load of washing before heading down to Victoria Street for a spot of shopping.

Then this evening I met B & P at Yoyogi for a quick meal before we headed off to the Fairfax Studio for it last Festival event, Fly Away Peter, an opera by Elliott Gyger based on the novel by David Malouf (who was in the audience). Performed by three singers Jessica Aszodi, Brenton Spiteri and Mitchell Riley it was accompanied by a seven-member band playing the same instruments as required for Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale.

While atonal, the music was very expressive including much birdsong. The piece tells of two men and a woman who are friends planning a bird sanctuary before the first war intervenes. The men go off to war and the scene changes to the battlefields; the performers progressively coat themselves with mud (clay?). The main character, Jimmy, is totally covered, face and all.

A difficult, but ultimately quite moving piece.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Radio stuff

Early start at the radio station today as we recorded a Reflections program - Doug B interviewed Theresa B (no relation) about her performing and directing life. I had to do a bit of work as we overran a bit - my fault. But I think it's turned out OK.

Then tonight we had rehearsal at St John's for Sunday's cantata. It was a little easier tonight as we were singing at 415hz, it makes more of a difference than you might think. Brent turned up tonight and after rehearsal we went for a drink at a place in Smith Street - $20 for a so-called Expresso Martini was overpriced to me. Though it was good to sit and chat.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


This morning's production was much easier than last week's - only two interviews to do, so I was back home for lunch. Bury back in the evening for the fund-raising trivia night.

Quite a system evening as our table, Saturday Mornings, came second. There was a good turn-up with a good representation of the younger volunteers. A good night was had by all.

As a side note, Peter G agreed with me about The Bacchae - he also thought it was prurient in its use of teenage girls.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ANAM, and The Bacchae

Yesterday morning I went to a wonderful concert at ANAM, which I nearly missed as it wasn't marked in my calendar. I'm glad I did though as it was of works for two pianos: the Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy and La Valse by Ravel, both in the composers' own arrangements, bookended two originally works, Poulenc's Sonata for two pianos and John Adams' Hallelujah Junction. The concert was the result of time spent at ANAM by Kathryn Stott working with the piano students.

This morning I dropped in to see Margaret G for coffee and chat. She's off to Ubud next week for the writers' festival, so I must remember not to visit.

Tonight I met P & B at Cicciolina for dinner before heading to Theatre Works for our final Festival show, The Bacchae, as presented by St Martin's Youth Theatre. It's a sign that something's amiss when the best thing about a production is a piece of scenery, in this case a self-inflating giant mask of Dionysus. The rest was opaque, to say the least, and frankly not very good. All performed, and one suspects developed by a group of teenage girls. I know a festival is a chance to do off-the-wall productions, but they do need to reach a certain standard. This didn't.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Yesterday I took myself up to Thornbury to have brunch with the delightful Kat at Brother Alec, her favoured local. It was lovely to catch up with her - she recently had her car stolen, and then, one afternoon riding home from work her bike disintegrated under her. Despite the setbacks she was still her chirpy self.

Then in the afternoon it was off to the radio station to finish up last week's Reflections program and burn a few CDs for Kiera.

At rehearsal last night we spent most of our time on the Bax - hard work but I think it was worth it.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Catching up

After coffee at Quint I made another visit to Bunnings for some more plants. Then this afternoon I headed down to Caulfield North to visit Barbara.

I took the Chromecast I'd got for her but unfortunately there was no spare sticker to plug the power supply into; added to that her iPad want charged and we couldn't find the lead to connect it with. Oh well, next time.

Then this evening Dmetri, B, P and I went to Quan 88 for a rather delicious dinner. It was great to catch up with D - I think he and B had a good chat, too.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Quiet day

I was up early this morning - I'd got it into my brain that it was market day today and put my olive oil bottle in my bag to get a refill. Of course when I got to the Convent back gates and saw them unlocked I realised I was a week early. Oh well.

The Romantics went off OK, and the station was quite busy with trainees in for another day's work.

Spent a bit of time weeding this afternoon, but not much else of note.

As I said ... quiet.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Ein feste Burg (part 1)

As P was going to one of his U3A films this morning there was no shopping planned so I took the shopping jeep down to Woolies to get a few things. I had brunch at Quint before coming home.

Not much achieved this afternoon, but after an early dinner I went into St John's for a cantata rehearsal. It's Ein feste Burg this time, which has quite a long first chorus. Essentially an elaboration of the chorale with grand accompaniment (and this time with the trumpet parts added by WF Bach) we spent most of the rehearsal on it. Despite it sitting quite high for the tenors it is actually musically not too complicated.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

More Monteverdi

Had a busy morning at the radio station today: four interviews and a Reflections program to be recorded and edited (well, I'll finish the Reflections off next week). Young Josh sat in again and helped out recording an interview for Philippa - he's going to be very useful.

Then this evening it was back to 45 Downstairs for the second of the Canzone concerts. This one was made up of modern takes on, mostly, Monteverdi, and was extremely satisfying. Laila and Callum were among the performers. For me the highlight was a performance of Brahms's left-hand transcription of the Chaconne from the Bach violin partita, the two singers added lines from Lutheran chorales to most extraordinary effect.

Then it was back here for slow cooked beef followed by passionfruit ice cream and The Principal and Please Like Me on the teev.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Great Catherine and Monteverdi

This morning I had coffee with Margaret and then accompanied her into town where she was having lunch with Sally W. After a quick lunch myself I met up with B&P at the National Gallery and we went to the Hermitage exhibition.

It was wonderful to see so many unfamiliar paintings and extraordinary objets d'arts. Very well presented.

Then, after a short visit to the MPavilion (not really very inspiring) we adjourned to the Transport (Transit?) Bar at Fed Square for gins and tonics.

Then it was off to 45 Downstairs for a concert by Accademia Arcadia, John O'Donnell's group, performing Monteverdi madrigals. John's excellent introductions added to the wonderful performances and made for a very entertaining concert.

We finished the evening with lovely roast lamb cooked by B.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More quiet

Another pretty quiet day today. Quint for coffee then Woolies for some shopping as P&B are coming for dinner on Thursday night after the concert at 45 Downstairs.

After lunch I spent some time in the garden, weeding and generally tidying up. If I stick to doing a little bit each day I should be able to get in control of the weeds. Most of the plants seem to have survived except for the Thriptomene which is well and truly dead.

Then this afternoon I spent some time type-setting the overture to Le naufrage de la Meduse, an early opera by Flotow.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Not so much happening today, though I did go into town to have lunch with Jim. We went to a little place he'd found that serves Uyghur cuisine - sort of a cross between Chinese and middle Eastern food. We had a lamb dish and braised eggplant which were both very tasty.

Rehearsal tonight involved work on the Bax "Mater ora filium", which I really love. Really, this next concert is going to be very lovely.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

More Festival

This afternoon, I met P and B at the Zinc House in Carlton, owned by Morrie and Anna Schwartz. It was a chance to see the house with an introduction by John Denton (of DCM Architects) and to hear performances from the London Haydn Quartet. But not before snacking on lovely nibbles and sipping Pommery champagne.

The house is very modern in style and full of art works (AS runs a couple of galleries) but I couldn't imagine living in it.

An audience of 60 or so sat to listen to the LHQ play two of Haydn's string quartets - these were very ably introduced by the violist. The group plays on original instruments and the performances were very good.

Then, after a quick dash home to pick up a bottle of wine and pick some flowers (Ophelia has just bloomed for the first time this season) I headed off to P&B's and the three of us went to Noel's for dinner and talk.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Rabbits

Usual Saturday routine today: presented The Romantics from 10 until midday, then after catching up with Sascha and Mariese headed home.

Then this evening, after dinner at the usual in Swanson Street, P, B and I went to see The Rabbits, by Kate Miller-Heidke, John Marsden, Shaun Tan and Sally Katz. An Opera Australia production, it's being presented as part of the Melbourne Festival.

At just over an hour it's well paced; production values are excellent with terrific sets and costumes echoing Shaun Tan's illustrations (I think). The music is quite eclectic in style and was performed by a great cast, including KM-H as The Bird.

The story tells of the effect on The Marsupials of the arrival of The Rabbits, a fairly transparent metaphor for the displacing of indigenous people by the whites. Over all, a very engaging and enjoyable night's entertainment (though the diction could have been a bit better).

More Festival fare tomorrow.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Normal Friday

This morning was back to normal, with B&P picking me up in the share car Delila to go shopping. First to Coles, then to Toscanos for fruit and veg. As I'm out a bit this coming week I didn't buy very much.

Then, after dropping off our shopping, and then the car, we settled in at Dr Morse for lunch.

After lunch P and I walked back, he home, and I to the radio station. I had to finish off the Reflections program I left undone yesterday - I also managed finally to burn a CD of Ted D's Pärt program to send to his interviewee. Then home.

Photo of the gates of Clare College, Cambridge, taken on my last trip there in 2011 (testing uploads).

Thursday, October 08, 2015


Lots to do at the radio station this morning: first up was recording three interviews for Julie H. Leah helped out, recording and editing one of them.

Was about to come home when I was reminded that I hadn't edited Doug's Reflections program with Tristan L, so I spent some time working on that. Will finish it off tomorrow.

On my way out I was delighted to see Loretto, who's returned from her holiday. Disappointed to hear she wasn't impressed by Spain.


After having been broken off twice in the past year, this tree is back for more.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

New York apartment

From March.


This morning I walked to Victoria Gardens and back, mainly to pick up a magazine but I also managed toi get a coffee as well. It was a lovely morning for a walk and I came home via The Boulevard.

Then I met Brian K at the radio station and had a pleasant lunching with him at Cam's cafe before taking him to meet John B to discuss taking on proofing for On Air. We agreed that he'll sit with me for the first one before soloing.

Then back home in the sun. A quiet, cheap day (Brian shouted lunch).

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

I'm back

I'm not going to bother about doing a catch up entry (though there is plenty of content) but just continue as if nothing intervened.

Last night we were back at rehearsal - after, for me, the unpleasant experience of working on the Pärt Passio, lady night was a welcome return to "proper" music. A mass by Lassus, and works by Gabrieli, Tarick O'Regan and Bax, among others. It was a hot night but the church wasn't too uncomfortable.

Today I caught up with Margaret, normally a Wednesday activity but moved as I'm catching up with Brian K tomorrow. It was an unusually hot day for October ("there's no such thing as global warming") and despite having taken a tablet in the morning my hay-fever was pretty bad.

As P&B are away I dropped past their place and brought in their bins and also dropped in briefly to the radio station.

A cool change finally came through this afternoon and the house has cooled down nicely.