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.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Stepping back a little

 Although I have CDs of music played on period instruments (memorably Melvyn Tan, fortepiano, doing LvB) and have seen period  performances on telly, yesterday was my first live concert. To Birmingham for The Academy of Ancient Music with two versions of Stabat Mater (Vivaldi, Pergolesi), Salve Regina (Vivaldi) and two concerti armonico (van Wassenaer).

Some things I expected. Gut strings detune quicker than the modern metal-wound kind and there's some messing about on their behalf. Not least for the gloomy, possibly French woman, endlessly attending to her theorbo (pictured). This cumbersome device seemed, to my gradually dysfunctioning ears, almost inaudible. Gut strings in general are supposed to generate less noise but this problem didn't arise. I am by now used to counter-tenors and Andreas Scholl, world renowned, offered beautiful, wobble-free tone over his full range.

What did surprise me was the structure of the music. The two cellos and double bass were reduced to an undemanding and repetitive drone-like accompaniment which I believe is called ground bass. Strange, given that Bach's dates are contemporary with these three composers and his unaccompanied cello suites - a growing comfort in my declining years - demonstrate what you can get out of a cello when you try.

The van Wassenaer pieces, both in four movements, were good fun but predictable. This Dutch nobleman favoured the "round" approach; each violin playing the same melody but entering the fray at different times. Very soon I was able to hum in advance what the next ten seconds would bring. Quietly of course.

There was no conductor, the leader (a violinist) did the cue-ing with a most eloquent body. Informality reigned. To the point where leader and counter-tenor crashed into one another when leaving the stage.


  1. RW (zS): Kinda hedging your bets, aren't you?

  2. Könnte sein! [uttered with poker face]

  3. RW (zS) Now what tense would Könnte be? Subjunctive?

  4. Yikes! Tense? I want to say Subjunctive II, but now that you ask point blank, I must admit I would have to look it up.

  5. I'm well into Gorgon Times, and I'm enjoying it very much. Your blog seems a poor place to comment on it. My email is


    Dropping a note there will allow me to email you. Obviously.