Monday, 26 January 2009

Life is so dull ---- not!

Last week on Monday I was at an AIDS benefit, which featured a quite dismal Drag show.

On the following Wednesday I was with nine friends at the “Irish Rover” pub for bangers and mash, good drink, and enjoyable sing-a-long music.

Sunday saw a farewell to Robert Reeves one of the two musicians at St. Boniface Church. He is retiring.

He pulled out all the stops and the choir sang one of my favourites, the chorus “The Heavens are telling the Glory of God” from Haydn’s “The Creation”.

I sang this when I was about fourteen years old and in the choir at Fairfield Grammar (High) School in Bristol, U.K. We enjoyed a first class musical education at Fairfield, thanks to Mr. W.J. “Dickie” Richards, the Music Master. So I went down memory lane when I heard the chorus again, and believe it or not, I could remember just about all of the bass line. It was hard for me not to sing a long, so I mouthed the words.

Bob Reeves played a great “crowd pleaser” as a postlude - the famous Toccata from the Widor Organ Symphony. It’s a hard piece to play and a terrific piece to hear.

Sunday launched my “music season” I shall attend seven concerts and three operas in the next two months: three of the concerts in this week alone.

Tonight was the opening concert of the Sarasota Concert Association’s Five concert series to which I subscribe - five world class concerts for $150 - now that’s a bargain.

This evening’s offering was by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, playing to a full house.

The first music was the “oh so familiar” Symphony # 25 by Mozart. It was written when he was 17 years old. Listening to this music was like having drinks before dinner with old and dear friends.

After this brief (20 minute) Symphony and a 15 minute intermission I hunkered down to hear something new.

It was the Symphony # 7, “The Leningrad”, by Shostakovich, begun in 1941 when the German armies were invading Russia.

As I said last year about a concert of Mahler’s music “I don’t like Shostakovich because I have never heard any of his music”. I'd thought that after the pleasant “drinks” of Mozart I was about to have dinner with a stranger who was reputed to be difficult.

Not so. I was enthralled by this 70 minute Symphony. So enthralled that I was shocked when it ended - I hadn’t the foggiest idea that it had lasted so long!

The music was alternatively lyrical and beautiful, and loud and passionate. I was grinning from ear to ear when I left the Concert Hall.

Thank goodness that I am not too old to enjoy something new (after all, I did Sky-dive in December!)

And I am deeply grateful that I am doing those things in retirement for which I never could find time when I was working.

“Carpe diem” whatever your day!

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