Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A Musical Weekend

On Saturday we went to Bernie's university music society concert.  She was playing in the main orchestra and in several other smaller groups, which always makes for an entertaining evening.

The variety of talent on display was nearly as impressive as the quality, ranging from barbershop (and barbieshop - the female version) a cappella singing, through swing band, flute choir, string ensemble, and brass band to the full orchestra.  The finale was an unashamed re-run of the second half of the Last Night of the Proms,  complete with flags, balloons and party poppers.  All in all a very enjoyable evening.

On Sunday morning, it was the EF Mass at Lancaster Cathedral, which was strictly unaccompanied Gregorian chant, fo the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist.  The Schola there is certainly improving over time, and sounded much better yesterday than it did only a short while ago - apart form the communion verse, which struggled to start... (but once underway, it was fine.)

Then on Sunday afternoon, Charlie was playing a few pieces in a local concert in one of the village churches.  It was really a show case for the wind band and the brass band from one of the local schools (not his), but he and a couple of others were invited to participate, to add some variety, I suppose, and to make the concert feel long enough (even with his three pieces, and the guest cellist's and guest flautist's, it was finished in an hour.)

As with anything involving Charlie, it was highly entertaining.  His first piece was over rather quickly (he had decided the repeats were boring) and so there was a moment's silence before anyone clapped.  He looked over his shoulder from the piano, with a look of complete bewilderment mixed with incredulity - and was there a hint of contempt? - at the audience, which caused me to crack up.

The second piece was fine - reasonably performed and unremarkable. But the final piece, a moody jazz piece that he normally plays with great panache, was again fraught with interest.  The piano provided was an electric one, which had been ok for the first baroque piece, which had probably been written for the harpsichord anyway.  But it didn't have the resonance in the bass which he required, and just from the shape of his back I could sense his growing disgust.  Then the loose first page of the piece fell onto his keyboard.  He thought he could keep going, then wasn't so sure, then ground to a halt. He re-started fine, but then did a repeat (on auto-pilot) that didn't seem to correspond to the music on the page, and then, it seemed to me (though he subsequently denied this) busked his way through his favourite passages of the piece in a somewhat disdainful way.  He was not at all happy with the performance; I had enjoyed it heartily; and most of the audience seemed pleased enough.  It is fair to say that he and the other soloists were older, and significantly more advanced on their chosen instruments, than the school ensembles, who opened and closed the event.

And then home, to start work on the music for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost (the next Lancaster Mass).

All in all, a weekend of mixed and rich musical entertainment!

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