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Messages - perfect wagnerite

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Announcements / Re: Simon Howard
« on: March 25, 2015, 01:23:25 pm »
It was a stunning, eclectic and very moving concert (although I agree with Jim and autoharp about the Bach). Invidious to pick out particular items but my companion, for whom much of this music was a very new experience, was bowled over by John Hails' piece.  And Strina's Biber was heart-rending.

Lovely to see some familiar faces again - sorry to those I missed but we had to get back to Brighton (and train and bus delays meant it was not a straightforward journey).

The Coffee Bar / Re: The Waffle Thread
« on: March 08, 2015, 09:32:48 pm »
I'm booked for the concert too. But I'm going to be pretty late, having to teach till 6 in Brighton. Still, I should catch some of it - and certainly will be thirsty by the time it finishes.  :naughty: How nice it will be to celebrate Simon and see some of you there!

(pokes head a little nervously around door, conscious of long absence...)

Not been around for a while, what with the pressures of political candidacy as well as changes in personal life, but I shall be making one of my increasingly rare trips to the smoke for the concert and look forward to seeing a few familiar faces there.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning (in your head)
« on: July 26, 2014, 10:13:11 pm »
That Bacchanale has to be one of the worst earworms in the history of Western music.  Saint-Saens has a lot to answer for.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Home Sweet Home. Not
« on: July 26, 2014, 10:11:53 pm »
What Selva said.

News and Current Affairs / Re: Carlo Bergonzi, 1924-2014
« on: July 26, 2014, 10:10:52 pm »
Very sad news indeed, although not unexpected. I think it was our own IGI who told me a while ago that he had heard that Bergonzi was very frail and ill, too ill to collaborate on a forthcoming biography.

There were three tenors, and there was Bergonzi - in my view incomparably the finest tenor of the second part of the twentieth century. I saw Bergonzi a handful of times in the theatre - recitals, and a memorable Lucia di Lammermoor at the ROH opposite Sutherland when both were easily old enough to claim their GLC bus-passes (in about 1985, I think).  Bergonzi still had plenty of voice left, and of course the incomparable style and musicianship were still on display. In fact, I think perhaps the emphasis on that style - his inimitable sense of vocal line - sometimes obscured the fact of the sheer beauty of the voice.  Yes, he was in many respects a dreadful actor, and he did end his career with that ill-advised foray into Otello - but it is Bergonzi's incomparable rendition of Verdi above all that he will be remembered for.

I did meet him once - after one of those ROH Lucias; a modest, gracious, quiet man with none of the airs you might expect from a great singer.  I appeared to have quite a lot more Italian that he had English, and that was the language we used.  It was of necessity a brief conversation.

There is a the famous story of how he stood in at short notice for an indisposed Pavarotti at James Levine's 25th anniversary gala at the Met in 1996.  The aria from Luisa Miller was one of his showpieces - calculated to show off his exquisite sense of Verdian line.  Yes, the voice is a bit rusty and takes time to wam up, and yes, he nearly misses his first entry in the cavatina, but by the time he gets to the second verse he has warmed up, and Bergonzi, at an age when most tenors have long retired, gives a masterclass in Verdi singing - in line, and diction, and phrasing.

And here he is at is his peak, in 1970

One of the truly great singers. RIP.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« on: June 15, 2014, 03:09:35 pm »
When you say "corrupted disk" do you mean the brand new laptop?

I've done a reset, but the images are still muddled up.

Sorry, no, the hard disc on the iPod (actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure the newer ones have hard disks)

As you were.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« on: June 15, 2014, 09:40:32 am »

It also looks as though I need a new iPod.  The images for the tracks are muddled up.

Have you tried doing a reset on the iPod? The instructions are here.  Although if that doesn't sort it, you may have a corrupted disc in which case, I'm afraid, you will need a new one.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« on: May 18, 2014, 10:18:11 am »
Thanks to you all for your sympathy and support. Those guitars were their pride and joy and they had created all their music with them.

Obviously I am relieved that no-one was personally threatened or hurt by the thieves but Laurence reckons the police aren't really interested as it wasn't an armed robbery. I am wondering how the thieves could get through locked iron gates and not be detected in the act despite CCTV and, apparently, the presence of an on-site security guard.

Sadly, I wouldn't be remotely surprised if this were the police's attitude.  When my daughter's trombone was stolen from what was allegedly a secure instrument room in her sixth-form college - in the middle of the day in front of a CCTV camera - neither the college nor the police lifted a finger.  Their attitude seemed to be that the instrument was insured, so what was the problem?  CCTV and security guards appear to be more about giving the appearance of security rather than the reality.

I really hope the band are able to get back to performing soon.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« on: May 17, 2014, 08:42:03 pm »
Nobody who hasn't experienced it knows what it's like to have an instrument stolen.  Sickening, as you say.

Cooking / Re: The Veggie Room
« on: May 11, 2014, 07:51:52 pm »
Had a delicious mushroom and fennel soup in a garden centre cafe with friends this lunchtime so I'm now trying to find a recipe online that doesn't just use a fennel bulb as the soup was full of finely chopped fennel fronds/leaves. Does anyone have an existing recipe or should I just work one out by trial and error? I didn't detect any other veg in it.

Fennel soup is one of my standards - although I've never tried putting mushrooms in - but I get my fennels from a local grocer (Taj) where they still have the fronds attached to the bulb and just chop them up and throw them in at the end as a garnish, having used the bulbs for the substance of the soup.

Theatre / Re: Bob Hoskins - a tribute
« on: May 11, 2014, 07:48:49 pm »
"I came 'ere to see a musical and all I get is fookin' lorries." 

 :laughter3: :laughter3: :laughter3:

I remember his "Talking About Music" programmes well - they must have been going well into the 1970s since I remember hearing them as a teenager.  An authoritative voice who conveyed his passion for the music so eloquently; the programmes were an important part of my musical education, at an age when I was really just discovering classical music for the first time.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Your latest purchase?
« on: April 19, 2014, 08:52:21 pm »
Nowadays, it is all online deals and my weekend listening will include Fritz Reiner conducts Richard Strauss, The complete RCA & Columbia Recordings; 11 Cds.  Was also chuffed to pick up a 16CD set, The Art of Daniel Barenboim, DG, for £22 51.

I marked Record Store Day with a visit to Fine Records in Hove - not that I needed an excuse - and abstinently came away with just one disc - but what a disc.

And coincidentally it's Fritz Reiner conducting Strauss - extracts from Elektra and Salome with Inge Borkh.  Now this is a disc with a certain reputation but it's the first time I've heard it - and live up to its reputation it most certainly does.  Borkh (and Schoeffler in the Recognition Scene) may not exactly sound youthful but what singing - absolutely living the text - and conducting!  And the playing and recording are pretty astonishing too - the Dance of the Seven Veils recording is sixty years old but most certainly doesn't sound it; it's in stereo and thankfully pre-dates that period when opera recordings tended to be over-reverberant and distant.  It's up-front and visceral - but with delicacy and transparency too.  A truly extraordinary disc.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Des res for sale
« on: April 02, 2014, 10:19:03 pm »
For some reason the words "elegant solution" keep going round my mind ...

The Coffee Bar / Des res for sale
« on: April 02, 2014, 04:49:20 pm »
Your chance to own Pierre Boulez' former home. A snip at E800,000.

Built on a former quarry in the countryside, this architect home with a contemporary feel was owned by Pierre Boulez, famous composer and conductor and conveys this aspect through the white concrete forming the gesture of a leader directing an orchestra without a wand. The concrete blends perfectly with the vertical stones found on site that are assembled into specific modules. Light seeps between volumes. Approximately 230m² spread over four levels as well as a guest house and a garage, the ensemble set on 3,7 ha. Numerous terraces including one with exceptional panoramic views on the last floor. 1h from the TGV train station in Aix en Provence.

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