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Messages - Jim Penn

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Making Music / Re: Down the Shameless Plughole
« on: Yesterday at 04:23:00 pm »
New York in July?

I like New York in July, how about you?
I like a Gershwin t.... Ah, bugger.
New Yourk, New York, a helluva town
I wanna be a part of it...

The Bronx is up, and the batteries aren't included...

The Coffee Bar / Re: Bah! Humbug!
« on: Yesterday at 03:35:52 pm »
A good friend passed away a couple of months ago, I want to buy his six year old daughter a Christmas present. I don't really know her that well, and I don't really know what six year old girls like these days. So, gift vouchers for Hamleys toy shop seems a reasonable bet. So I go to Hamleys website - they don't do e-vouchers any more, apparently, but you can buy paper vouchers through the website. There are images on the website for vouchers in various denominations (up to £20 and £50). But clicking on the page to actually go to purchase them and it's only giving me the choice to buy £1 vouchers. And when I try to add them to my basket, it's not letting me put in more than TWO!

Surely they can't be so poorly prepared for Christmas that they've run out of actual paper vouchers?!

Making Music / Re: Down the Shameless Plughole
« on: Yesterday at 10:48:35 am »
New York in July?

I like New York in July, how about you?
I like a Gershwin t.... Ah, bugger.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Extraordinary album covers
« on: December 17, 2014, 10:32:23 pm »
And another, ahem, shot at a similar Magnard theme...!!!  :facepalm:

The Coffee Bar / Re: Bah! Humbug!
« on: December 17, 2014, 08:50:53 pm »
So, it was that time of year for the annual workplace frippery that goes by the name "secret santa". Owing to a bit of managerial disorganisation, there hadn't been a drawing of names, so it became more of a "pot luck secret santa". And I'd somehow missed the discussion about it actually happening, so I only found out yesterday, which didn't leave me much time for any kind of thoughtful shopping - but, with the limited budget and the time constraints last night, I put some care into getting something that I thought might at least be reasonably well appreciated by whichever member of my team actually got it (and as it turned out, it ended up in the hands of the colleague I thought might like it most, and so she did!).

So, what sumptuous treasure did I receive?

Some piggin' lottery scratchcards. I mean, okay, there's a chance I could win a decent amount of money, but you know, the odds of that are preposterously remote. And, funnily enough, none of them turned out to win me any money at all. So, I put in a fair amount of thought (as indeed did others, noticing some of the other things round the table) to get something nice that someone could keep and use and enjoy for years, and I get a few pieces of cardboard worth diddly...

And colleagues wonder why I don't get enthusiastic about Christmas.


The Concert Hall / Re: Live Concert Thread
« on: December 16, 2014, 04:45:38 pm »
Did anyone listen to (or, indeed, was anyone at) last Friday's BBCSO concert at the Barbican? Sakari Oramo conducting Rachmaninov's "Spring Cantata", Nielsen's 2nd symphony, and Busoni's piano concerto (with Garrick Ohlsson)?

Not that one wants to put too much store in what critics say, but a couple of the broadsheets are describing it as one of the concerts of the year (indeed, the Telegraph review describes as THE concert of the year). In the hall, it was a spectacular evening. The Rachmaninov didn't do a lot for me - beautifully played (and superbly sung by the Russian soloist), but not terribly interesting music from where I was sitting. The Nielsen was remarkable, though, and the Busoni even better. Ohlsson was absolutely superb - I can forgive a few bum notes here and there, his architectural grip on the piece was astonishing (I've listened to the end of the performance on iplayer, and Pet Rock mentions the moments leading up to Ohlsson's first entry where he was bracing himself physically and emotionally, and having been one two rows away from the piano with a good view of Ohlsson's face, I'd certainly picked up on that moment myself, and it was an electrifying sight - and Ohlsson cuts a massive figure on stage, he must be one of the tallest and broadest pianists I've ever seen, which must have something to do with how he can get quite so much power into his hands!).

It's up on iplayer for a while, worth seeking out if you've missed it thus far.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Bah! Humbug!
« on: December 12, 2014, 04:48:46 pm »
Oooh. I need one of those immediately!  Did you customise a shop bought bauble, Jim?

No, Mort - it was a gift from a friend a few years ago. From this company: Doesn't look like the one I have is still available, but they appear to have plenty of baubles (and other products) expressing a similar sentiment. ;)

The Coffee Bar / Re: Bah! Humbug!
« on: December 12, 2014, 04:35:09 pm »
With apologies for bad language, here's the current state of my monitor at work... :)

The Coffee Bar / Re: What has made you smile today?
« on: December 11, 2014, 10:54:14 am »
Had a difficult commute this morning (not helped by a preposterous amount of oversleeping!), but if I hadn't, I'd have missed one of those fantastic tube announcements that reveal an all-too-human driver....

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. We’ve got about fifty seconds before we depart, so let’s get warmed up. It’s cold up here, and I’m sure you can feel it back there. Anyway, this train is going to a-Wembley. Hip-hip?.... Hooray. This train is calling at all stations, yes, all of them, to Wembley Park. The long route. There are currently minor delays on the District and Circle lines. Other lines may be better. If I get any news to write home about, I’ll let you know. But don’t hold your breath, they don’t give me a personal update till 10 o’clock. Anyway, I’m now pressing the button to shut the doors, and now I’m going to show the range of my skills and how good I am at multi-tasking by pressing the other button that makes the train actually go…

20th Century / Feldman
« on: December 10, 2014, 09:57:04 am »
Unpleasant (if 'unpleasant' is an appropriate word) news about Morton Feldman.... (I don't read Italian, so I haven't read the original interview)

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Itchy Credit Card time...
« on: December 07, 2014, 02:49:23 pm »
CD Review on 6 Dec included a short Feldman piece Intermission 6 played by John Tilbury & Philip Thomas, taken from a double CD on Another Timbre.

Looks an interesting collection and I'm very tempted to buy it. Anyone here know anything about it/have any comments/already own it?

Clementine Verbiage liked it.

The Concert Hall / Re: Live Concert Thread
« on: December 05, 2014, 04:44:55 pm »
An email from Birmingham Opera Company today (they of the 2012 production of Mittwoch) announces that they're producing Tippett's "The Ice Break" in the spring... Could tempt me into a rare return visit to my home town!

20th Century / Arthur Butterworth
« on: November 25, 2014, 12:43:01 pm »
I read that Arthur Butterworth has died.

One of those names that seems to crop up in the annual litany of complaints that the Proms are neglecting various swathes of English music. Can't imagine any of his works would fill the seats at the Albert Hall, but I must say that the three pieces of his that I know (the viola concerto and the 1st and 4th symphonies) are fine works.

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