Faire is the Heaven

January 3, 2010

This work, written by Spenser and set to music by Harris, was referrenced by Mark Tully on Something Understood (R4 early this morning). This work has deep resonance with me.

With a chapel choir, on the way to a cathedral, I had a migrane attack, and was completely disabled. Not only did it worry me, it worried the choir, as I was the only person singing top tenor (I am a bass).

Quick but deadly, by the time of rehearsal I had recovered [note to Migrane sufferers, it really is one, I happen to be ‘lucky’ to have the flashing lights, the visuals, the splitting headache, the throwing up, the sleep, and recovery in just four or five hours]. Any how it was bitterly cold.

So it turned out that none of the basses could reach the bottom D-flat, at the very end of the piece. But I, despite singing top tenor (top A-flat ) could. So it was arranged I would swap lines close to the end with a high singing bass, so as to work my way down the two and a half octaves in the cold.

And why the migrane? I had had a furious and final row with the love of my life (my femme fatale) the night before.

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More early mornings

September 17, 2009

I know, I know. Poor blogger or what..

The earliest I’ve walked by the Thames is 04:00. In August I discovered where Bats would fool around (a dark spot), and even tried taking flash photos, to no effect. Some days I manage to sleep through, more or less, but the majority of the days have had me walking by the Thames pre dawn (since the last entry). There was also a high tide that left me trapped on a bench surrounded by 4 inches of water over the footpath for perhaps an hour. Photos to be posted. Only once have I come across a homeless person, but during the warmest period, I admit I had considered the idea of taking a sleeping bag and sleeping out for the night in some quiet nook (I did not find one quiet enough).

This morning, by Richmond Riverside, there was a young fox (I guess this year’s cub), who often got to within 6′ of me, only to be put off by my scent. I’d never seen a fox there before (I guess normally the Canada Geese keep them away), although foxes can be seen even in the middle of the afternoon in the garden of the garden flat of this block.

The last two rehersals had me almost falling asleep while singing. I’ve never had this type of problem before, and reminds me of Arthur Lowe (most famous from Dad’s Army) who suffered from narcoleptsy – i.e. would fall asleep with no warning.

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.

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.

Just cannot recall

May 25, 2008

I know enough music that there are times I know the music, completely, but have not a clue as to what it is. This evening (back from C London) was a Bach work on R4. Now I knew it was Bach from the style, not because I remembered it was a work of Bach, as it were.

When I get these senior moments, and the work is a choral one, I can even sing along to it (the appropriate part), and yet still no idea what the work actually is.

15 minute musical

September 26, 2006

As I write, another rather lame “15 minute musical” (Radio 4, Tues, 23:00) plays. The writer/composer manages one excellent one per series, although the highlight was the first one of the last series, “Blunketto”. It still resonates around the internet, but no recording seems available…

Writing of which, music, rehearsal this evening, I missed more than half of due to bad traffic and the stops I had to make on the way. For there are not many journeys I make these days for one reason alone, but save them up and do a whole load in one go. Not that green, true, but better than what I used to do – go for a drive for the hell of it. But then, in London, who drives for pleasure?