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.
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Saturday, 4 May 2013

Actually, the hair helps

Over the last thirty years, music has tightened its grip on me; a nubby of awareness has grown, become more intense, more informed. Thanks to influences stretching from Joni Mitchell to Charles Rosen, to my late mate, Richard, to pianist Stephen Hough, to Wagner.

And to conductor Sir Colin Davis. When I play Messiah in my head, the template is always his with its tiny, pared-down super-expert choir. And when Fiordeligi and Dorabella engage in thrumming, organic duets the voices are Janet Baker and Montserrat Caballé but Cosi is being directed by the man whose hair-do proclaims "Conductor!"

Then there are his opinions. His sly digs at the authentic music cult. His belief that a day spent without access to the singing voice endangers the soul. His sudden revelation (last night on telly) about the conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent: "Everybody disliked him."

Davis died a fortnight ago and yesterday they showed his final interview, punctuated by lengthy periods of contemplation. Characteristically he told me something I didn't know: singers are eternally at risk of arriving late on their cue.

In singing, for instance, "Misere" the word doesn't start with a musical note but with a humming sound as the voice begins to form the letter M. Thus (exaggeratedly): "Mmmm-is-a-rare-rrr-i." These delays can be significant. To the point where some singers only become musically audible at the point in time designated for the first E in Misere. Singers, said Davis, should fill up their windbags and be ready to sing immediately.

Was he religious? He didn't know. Did he fear death? No. Might after-death be silence? Perhaps, but a human would be needed to perceive silence.

But never mind my views. His words were preceded by his 2011 version of LvB's Missa Solemnis. Verily, the music spoke for him.

1 comment:

Joe Hyam said...

His way of answering questions by looking down and thinking for a while and then looking into the camera was I thought disarming rather than, as some might have found it, off-putting. I had never thought much about liking or disliking Malcolm Sergent but I think I have now been infected by a retrospective dislike. Not a modest man.