There’ll be a family lunch on Sunday at a place on the Usk road. The wine will go with a cold buffet the night before. Half a dozen Marsannay (a burgundy), two twenty-quidders from Montpeyroux (Coteaux de Languedoc but soon due its own appellation), two Rasteau from the Rhone. The Domaine Jones is a grenache from the Cotes Catalanes and there’s a handful of pricey South Africans as proof I’m finally shedding my prejudice regarding that part of the world. No, I don’t expect to polish off the lot over the weekend.
But what about music to mark an otherwise unexceptional cypher – 77 – even if it is divisible by eleven and its rhyming partner seven? I was in town earlier today browsing Outback, Hereford’s sole source of posh sounds. Bought a DVD of Handel’s Theodora, an oratorio updated to fit into modern-day USA (I saw it four a five years ago on the BBC and, to coin a phrase, it works well). Stars the glorious Dawn Upshaw. Ordered a DVD of Strauss’s Salomé with Bryn Terfel.
But neither of these works suits my immediate mood, that of calmly (I hope) acknowledging the passage of time and the restrictions tightening on my familiar world. Is the curtain finally parting on Bruckner?
I have recordings of the second, third, fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth symphonies: rambling, repetitive, disparate works, stuffed with Austrian references and often of inordinate length (the eighth runs to 77 min). I’ve heard them all but that means very little: more important, how long have they hung in my mind as integrated pieces of music? Old age is said to encourage patience and I hope this is the case. Perhaps interspersed with slices of Janacek, a growing enthusiasm.
Watch this space.