Sunday, 23 September 2007

Blog on official go-slow ... plus Gig-a-Blog-in-passing™ (Haydn Chamber Orchestra, St John's Wood Parish Church)

I now need to devote a serious chunk of time to the screaming nightmare that is my trumpet editing job. (More on this some other time, perhaps.) As a result, there might be less going on here for a bit. There are a few pieces more or less done and nearly ready to post - mainly St Anne & St Agnes Gig-a-Blogs™, and a few firm ideas for things I want to write about, but these will be appearing gradually rather than, er,  all in one strand (as the deeply unpleasant and unrepeatable joke puts it).

I currently have rather a lot on at work, and also imminent are a Salomon Orchestra concert and a trip oop t'North to retrieve my dear Mama from those icy wastes and return her safely to the balmy shores of, ah, Chichester.

So I am a bit of a stretched-many-ways bunny (eeeuuuwww nasty mental image) at present and even the time it takes to put blog entries up can be difficult to find. And yes I still write them mostly on the Tube or on the Wagn railway (or whatever they are calling it this week) but putting them up and making them nice (or nice-ish) can take a wee bit of time, though not always. So I must ask my many thousands (hem hem) of enthusiastic readers to please bear with me till I find a bit more of the said time.

The good news in all this is that I do sort-of get a couple of days off. The trip to Northumberland is simply too long to just drive there and turn straight around, unless in emergency, which this is not. So I have taken Thursday and Friday off and I will drive up there after work on Wednesday night. We can then do touristy things and go out for nice meals on those two days before the Saturday, when we'll bid a regretful farewell to the lovely village and head for Chichester (which is quite a long way). The bad news at that point is that I cannot then stay the night - there is orienteering on the Sunday morning in Ally Pally and it would be a huge shame to miss it, and then there's a Salomon rehearsal in the afternoon anyway. This means that when we hit Chichester on the Saturday I will certainly stay for a cuppa or two and make sure Mum is OK but then I really have to drive back, no matter how little I feel like it! Ah well, it is a small price to pay for a long weekend in an exceedingly  nice neck of the woods.

In other (brief) news: an excellent Haydn Chamber Orchestra concert in St John's Wood last night. I was very very excited and pleased because my wife, Mrs von Neustadt to you, came along, which is not usual and was very much appreciated. I played in Brahms Symphony No 1, which was great. (I used to detest Brahms symphonies, but they seem to have grown on me, along with whitening hair and several stone in extra weight.) However the actual reason I was there was the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. I couldn't bear to think of not being in an HCO concert containing this most perfect of works, even though the trumpet part is notable for its really very sparse writing. (Goak here.) Despite this terrible oversight by Ben (yeah right, we were on first name terms) it affects me more than most other music. It was played utterly fabulously by my friend Keith Maries (odd link, yeah I know) and gorgeously sung by Allan Clayton (somewhat rough link, sorry, could find no better) whom I loved though Deb was (slightly) less taken with him. Something about his vibrato in the Dirge, which I am one day (when I have time) going to obsessively compare on x different recordings till I see what she means. I thought it was wonderful, vibrato and all. Tsk. The conductor was the highly wonderful Robin Ticciati who though seemingly about 11 (from where I am sitting anyway) has a very, very wise musical head on those youthful shoulders and clearly will go spectacularly far. Oh and Mr Clayton looks engagingly much like a Hobbit, which I feel can only be a very good thing.

Oddly, the concert flyer names Robin and Allan but not Keith. I find this surprising - I wouldn't buy a recording of it (and the Lord knows I have bought plenty) with an anonymous horn player. Oversight or policy? Your guess, my guess > equal worth.

Aside: the Serenade is the only piece of music where I find it necessary to pronounce the punctuation, thus: Serenade for Tenor Comma Horn and Strings, although I am not sure how common is the misunderstanding which I am ostensibly trying to avoid. Maybe, like so much else I say and do, it is just a joke which is starting to wear a bit thin. Or maybe I really did hear it the wrong way the first time: I am not sure. The number of people who "get" this may in any case be vanishingly small.  

Oh and we did the Brahms on interesting German/Austrian rotary-valve trumpets, because my good friend and 1st trumpet bossman John Parker likes them and has two. I played John's Monke Bb and he played his incredibly exquisite Schargerl C. Great fun, weird, educational, etc. We do this quite often: I like it.

Afterwards we went to a very nice party at Phil and Mourijn's, which I enjoyed. I had a great chat with people I hardly knew, about jazz, coincidentally enough a subject I hardly know. But hey. Suddenly after yet more splendid chatoidalness (basically, everyone we know was there) I realized that I was going to fall over quite soon, and so I went home and Deb followed a while later, which was all very fine and civilized.

And that's it for now. More soonish, but please don't hold your breath. :)

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