Tenor or Bass?

February 28, 2009

I once failed an audition with the Philharmonia Chorus, because, they claimed, I “could not decide” which my voice was. It was a blessing, in as much as I would never have been able to leave work early enough to make the rehearsals at 18:00. Their reason was total rot.

Meanwhile, I joined a local choir, and was a heaven sent tenor. I cannot be sure but the fact that I was there might have induced the conductor to try Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle, a bigish work needing only a piano and a harmonium in its original orchestration. This is code for cheap to put on. The full orchestration was stipulated by Rossini only to be used after his death.

This apparent madness of the conductor meant that while every other section was note-bashed through the work, and, I admit, put up a creditable performance in the end, because I already knew the work, I sailed through the thing, and was occasionally asked during rehearsal if I was OK. There must have been at least one other tenor, but I don’t recall, and in any case he learnt the part from me.

I left that choir over another concert which was a disaster, (due to the conductor) and then they asked me to put hand in pocket for their future…

I struggle to make the 19:30 rehearsals in the choir I do sing in now. I am officially a Bass, but I volunteered to sing Tenor on more than one occasion, and proved that I could do it – very few basses can reach tenor top A, or even sing low alto parts. All these efforts are officially ignored, even when I volunteered (tenors are rare beasts). One one occasion, I did transfer to sing first bass (a considerably different line) on the day, due to sudden illness of a lead singer; this conductor realised that I had the range and would have learnt the part or able to learn it during the dress rehearsal.

On occasion I still sing the tenor line (from the bass section), especially on works I know better as a tenor than a bass – and that is a surprisingly large number. The current concert, tonight, is a case in point; I remember the tenor line from heart, I have to read (or even, as my colleagues jest, due to lack of rehearsals sight-read) the line. And the tenors are in dire need of reinforcement, there being one good singer in the section, plus some followers.

No sleep last night.

February 26, 2009

07:25. Only four hours sleep on Tuesday night, I got up at 05:00. True I did doze a little in the day, but it was 04:00 before I even thought to try to sleep; no luck at all. If you don’t count the dozing, which can only have been for minutes at a time, been awake 26 hours and counting – and a long day ahead

UPDATE, 23:30 Well, dozed a bit in the morning, and was fighting against dropping off during extra choir rehearsal in the evening, the big question is will I get any sleep tonight.

Red Cowslip

February 26, 2009

First visible buds on red cowslip in greenhouse.

First visible buds on red cowslip in greenhouse.

Two reasons for posting this photo now. Firstly, it’s the last of the photos from last weekend’s visit to Mother’s and the greenhouse. Secondly, I’m trying to stay up late, to be tired enough to sleep tonight (unlike last night’s three hours, leaving me drowsy all day).

This year it looks as if the red cowslip has naturally divided into two crowns, and it’s rather too late to split them now. But the flower buds are there.

I did not look underneath the “red hot poker” plant to see the mother plant in the front garden, although the poker plant would have given it welcome protection during the early February cold weather.

For the record, in the greenhouse at present are:

This red cowslip; scented pelargoniums/geraniums; cymbidium orchid; five cacti plants (one unfortunately looking unwell); three other types of geranium plants, a potted lavender, a potted rosemary (not looking well), flowering aliums, edible aliums (Garlic, variety “Music”, supposed to be really garlically) and some dahilas and lilies that are just being overwintered. Plus the wormery.


February 25, 2009

I first purchased a Moth orchid for Mother’s birthday in early January 2008, and another one “on offer” soon afterwards, which was in a poor state. Initially the second one revived, but I got the temperature conditions wrong, and soon both died. I then took some better advice.

Flash photo of flower on end of spike.

Flash photo of flower on end of spike.

I purchased another one “on offer” in May 2008. The photo above was taken on Sunday. It has flowered continuously since May, on the original flower spike (although it split into three, and one branch has died off), and it looks as if it developing 2 more flower buds. OK, these are now single flowers on the end of long stalks. But the leaves are big and healthy, there is a root spike looking to explore further. The plant is kept about 3 feet inside the room from a south facing window, in what is the only centrally heated room at Mother’s. The greenhouse would be far too cool in winter.

I realise that this nine-month flowering is by no means a record, maybe not even a record from a single spike.

Scented Pelagoniums

February 24, 2009


At present there are two sented pelagoniums or geraniums in the greenhouse. “Attar or Roses” I purchased last year, and has been in gentle flower pretty much all the time since then. I am surprised to see it still flowering (see photo) at this time of the year.


I’m even more surprised, and possibly a little worried, to see the “Lemon Fancy” come into bud. It’s much earlier than last year, and normally I’m sure it’s flowered during the summer. The greenhouse is not being kept that warm! I particularly like the scent of this one, a strong lemon scent that reminds me of lemon shebert.


From being in bud last week, yesterday the first flower spike of the Cymbidium was in full flower.

There is a reasonable amount to report, but due to work (on a Sunday night, that is how desperate it is), I’ll just have to trail some of the items to appear in the next week:

Cymbidium first spike in bloom;
Some Pleonies growing strongly; nothing from others…;
Moth orchid still in flower 9 months after purchase (on original flower spike);
Geraniums in flower and flower bud (in February);
Music and concert;

I’m writing this while some parts sit in front of the electric fire to dry them out after washing, as soon as they are, I’ve got to glue them together, so the glue sets overnight, thence the next job tomorrow am, when I resort to “Araldite Rapid” for the job, not as good, but sets so fast as to allow me to finish the job and despatch it the same day.