I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Behold a mystery

- Pt 1
How many posh music concerts have I seen? Say 200 - 300. How many have caught my breath? About five. A workshop version of Cosi,. Stephen Hough playing a Cesar Franck sonata, Richard Hickox (sadly, now late) conducting Mahler’s Symphony for a Thousand, Herbert Blomstedt with the Leipzig Gewandhaus doing Brahms Symphony 3, Bach’s St Matthew Passion, CBSO with Simon Rattle.

Yesterday Mrs LdP and I risked ass-chill in Birmingham (time to kill; lunch to find) and struck lucky with Brahms again. The fourth movement of Symphony 1 (CBSO with Andrés Orozco-Estrada) qualified.

That’s 1% in 55 years. About what I’d expect. How many real turkeys? Fewer. And two of the most notorious involved very late replacements.

Over lunch (lasagne, a large glass of Puglia Rosso, and an excellent not-too-sweet cheesecake, since you ask) Mrs LdP and I discussed judging musical performances. Ruling out amateurs (and I do) and strange venues with professional unknowns (ditto) one can expect technical competence at the very least. Music is so competitive. Anyone who can’t do all the notes is quickly doomed to instructing secondary school classes in Come Unto These Yellow Sands.

At venues like Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall advanced interpretations can be expected and judgement starts to be based on finer and finer nuances. It’s at this point that people who’ve lapped up the Eroica, the Mozart piano concerto 21 and a host of other accessible masterpieces often find themselves faced with another level of comprehension and give up. “I’ll only bother with music that simply washes over me,” they say.

Certainly the above percentage wouldn’t encourage them. For what it’s worth I’ll try and address this in my bumbling way but it will take several posts and the erection of several goalposts.
Re pic: He's just a bit younger than me.


  1. oh dear... am I not allowed to admit to liking Mozart's 21 pc?

    crestfallen in Jamaica.

  2. EB: Let me restore you forthwith. I merely picked out a couple of masterpieces that require no explanation or tuition - works that have instant appeal yet maintain their importance thereafter. I'll edit myself while you get another six-pack out of the fridge.

  3. I'm reassured... maybe (as it's nearly midday and it's raining) I should go for a rum punch instead>>>

  4. Music that washes over me I admit to liking, sometimes to excess, but the more I listen to music, the less I want to be lulled by the familiar. Hence my growing appreciation of pop that opens my mind and contemporary atonal stuff that makes me think.

  5. EB: I think I should announce to the world that these joky references to booze are just that - jokiness. That I have a third-party reference to the effect that your mind's on higher things and not getting plastered. Unless, that is, white burgundy is being dished out as if at the wedding in Cana.

    Plutarch: Another person has taken over the programme whereby we pay in advance for bus transfers and a year-long selection of concerts in Birmingham and the choice offered is much more MoR. In some respects this is a relief - one can let the music "wash over" and there is none of the tenseness that often marked the start of concerts chosen by the other, more adventurous, organiser.

    And yet, and yet... as you mention, I rather not be a Daily Telegraph buffer when it comes to music. Naxos was a great help in widening one's horizons; one could afford to buy a £5 CD of some unheard-of composer, play it once and not feel too put out if it didn't click. The titles stand up like reefs in an otherwise tranquil ocean: Copland's Quiet City, Finzi's clarinet concerto, Honegger's symphonies 1 - 5. Martin's piano quintet, Rawsthorne's violin concerti 1, 2, Roussel's symphonies 1 - 4, Stenhammer's piano concerto 2. They must all be arthritic by now; they need taking for a walk.

    Especially the Stenhammer. Surely the name alone is proof I take things seriously.

  6. Sadly, no white burgundy.

    Fear not - all references were indeed taken in (or should that be 'with') the spirit (rum in this instance) in which they were intended.