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I shall shortly begin my usual headless chicken packing as I am off to the Aegean in quest of the end of the summer at an ungodly hour on Monday morning, via party chez Steph and Rob's tomorrow and then, once again, dozing in Gatwick until the flight is called. In about 40 hours I hope to be here. Expect me when you see me. It's a hard and bitter quest I embark upon but I had a vision you see.

Hmm, 20 to midnight and nothing whatsoever is packed. Maybe not such a bright idea to go to the proms tonight, but I hadn't been all week, not since Gergeyev and the LSO's stunning Tchaikovsky 6 etc - a friend claimed that was possibly the best concert he had ever heard, since he has been spending a significant proportion of his disposable income on concerts and recordings since 1971 and is not particularly given to hyperbole this was significant praise. Tonight sadly a long way from that, though passable.

Ho Hum

Aug. 16th, 2006 12:05 am
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Thursday's prom was supposed to be by the Orchestra of St Lukes, an American outfit. Unfortunately as it has turned out, in the current airline turmoil they are unable to bring their instruments over and are to be replaced by the City of London Sinfonia. Ah well, wasn't too struck by the concert anyway, one for hardcore Ian Bostridge fans.

I find myself wondering how Anne-Sophie Mütter, who is said to travel with her two strads handcuffed to her, would react on being told she could take no hand luggage. Oddly enough major soloists do not take kindly to the idea of putting their priceless instruments in the hold. Nor do their underwriters. If one has sat on a plane having some problem with the doors and watched the hold being unloaded, as I did not too long ago, one begins to see their point. The winces from the guys behind me as they saw their expensive bikes being chucked around brought tears to the eyes.

Just back from one of the best performances I have ever heard of the Beethoven violin concerto, which I consider a work apart from every other piece of music ever written, so I'm happy anyway...

liadnan: (Default)

Decided to skip last night's prom, despite Tasmin Little doing the Glazunov violin concerto alongside Shostakovich 8, from a mixture of feeling tired, having urgent drafting work to do (shows how much the end of Law Term means these days), and wanting to catch HBird (aka Kasia, HospitalSoup, and Augstone) at the Spread Eagle. And fab they were too: I strongly recommend catching their next gig. Managed to lose a small, yet as it turns out vital, bolt from my bike on the way home, hopefully the one I picked up from the ironmongers at lunchtime will fit...

Handel (arr. Mozart) Alexander's Feast tonight for the early prom, but I don't think I can face 90 minutes of Hans Werner Henze without an interval for the late one. And I'm generally enthusiastic about contemporary compositions.

liadnan: (Default)

Feeling unwell (permanent mild hangover without the drinking, prob dehydration) and tired: going to the Proms every night and cycling all the way home after a quick drink in ICU takes it out of you, and watching an episode of Buffy every night when I finally reach home probably isn't that bright. Tuesday was a godawful load of old rubbish with the BBC Pops (aka the BBC Concert Orchestra) which I should have given a miss. Evening not improved by a very near-miss on the bike. I use the road inside Hyde Park (which includes a cycle lane) to go home from the Albert Hall to Hyde Park Corner (then Constitution Hill, the Mall and on through central London) as it's less busy than the parallel road outside the park. It's unlit of course, and for some reason cars -I suspect chauffeurs- occasionally park along it, in the cycle lane of course. Those cars that do use it at that time, mainly taxis, tend to race along it as they do with Constitution Hill and the Mall, so you still want to keep in as much as possible of course. Cycling along, lights on et al, move out to go past one of these... and at the last minute he cheerfully swung his door wiiiide open....

I didn't actually know I had good enough reactions and instinct to do that kind of emergency stop. Only real damage was caused by my fairly sturdy bike to his nice shiny Mercedes, as the taxi behind me just missed me and the bike. Lost yet another pair of sunglasses though, the case must have fallen out of my pocket.

Still, last night we had a pretty good Shostakovich Violin Concerto and Brahms 4 (Leila Josefowicz and the CBSO), and then a gorgeous late night Monteverdi & c. affair with John Eliot Gardener, Monteverdi Choir, and co. Not sure about Sir John's black silk shirt with lime green cuffs though.

Could do with a night off to be honest... but it's Mahler 4...

liadnan: (Default)

... even though the most effort I've put in at the office since Wednesday morning was swilling champagne on the roof for some hours yesterday. Off to the Proms for Ligeti, Schumann and Brahms, and then tomorrow morning to Leeds for Jen's wedding hurrah. Have a good weekend all.


Jul. 14th, 2006 02:59 pm
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I suddenly realised last night that I still hadn't bothered to go down to the Royal Albert Hall and buy a Proms season ticket, which was cutting it just a tad fine as the First Night (bits of Mozart operas, Smetana, Ma Vlast; Dvorak Te Deum and Shostakovitch 5) is tonight. Cue, once this morning's slightly confused injunction application was dealt with, a slightly rushed journey to South Ken at lunchtime and the collection of a rather dodgy looking temporary pass while they make up the real one. I doubt I shall break even this year: I never have before and the break-even point works out at 34 concerts (out of 72), which is pretty hard going though fewer than it used to be. Still, the guaranteed entry up to ten minutes before the start makes it worth it these days, otherwise I'd rarely manage the really popular concerts. They said there's a full house in the seats tonight: memo to self, change to shorts and t-shirt before going down there as it'll turn into a sauna.

Apropos of something completely different, I was, rather randomly and for want of anything better, reading West End Extra (central London's free local rag), specifically the official notices (insolvencies, winding up applications and the like, (intriguingly placed on the opposite page to the classified "adult services", an unrivalled page in a newspaper whose central distribution zone is Soho, of course), and discovered that both the Bafta main offices in Piccadilly and the ICA have applied for wedding licences, in both cases specifically including the cinemas. I can't really see the fun in being married in a cinema, even an artsy one, but I suppose it takes all sorts.


Aug. 5th, 2005 11:39 pm
liadnan: (Default)

... is something you expect at some events. Those events do not include the BBC Proms. In particular you don't expect a concert to be delayed by almost an hour because of continuous feedback at the BBC Proms, which after all have a fair number of BBC sound engineers around.

Anne Sophie von Otter (Mahler, Rückert Lieder) and Sib 5 extremely good though.

liadnan: (Default)

The First Night of the Proms I mean. Yes, I believe some book or other was launched last night. No, I haven't bought a copy, and probably won't for a week or two. In any case I won't be reading anything else until I've finished Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, lent to me by the inimitable Eurotrash*. Like her I'd had a certain amount of scepticism, but so far it's brilliant.

Yes, I have deliberately read properly spoiler-warned posts. Heigh ho.

But I digress. Gorgeous evening at the Albert Hall but sadly not a staggeringly good concert, either in programme or performance terms. I probably wouldn't have gone had it not been the First Night. BBC SO under Sir Roger "at least I'm not Slatkin" Norrington: Berlioz overture The Corsair: yeah, whatever; Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (Janice Jansen): started off ok, went via "quite good" and "mediocre" to "actually quite bad" -not entirely her fault, the balance was badly off for one thing; rambling sentimental speech by Norrington about last Thursday -speeches, other than on the Last Night, are very rare at the Proms; Elgar overture Cockaigne ("about London and Londonders of course", says Norrington, "no, that's Cockaigne with a 'g' ha ha"): a solid performance; Tippett, A Child of Our Time (BBC Symphony Chorus, Indra Thomas, Christine Rice, Ian Bostridge, Sir Willard White): mixed, this one. I love the piece and haven't heard it performed often: thought the chorus did their usual sterling work, and Sir Willard on top form as ever, but the female soloists were a bit dodgy and Bostridge was, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on, "not quite right", and also has silly hair. And all in all it seemed an odd programme to put together, particularly for the First Night, which ought to be an Event.

Still, early days yet, so far as the season is concerned. Failed to crash the BBC party this year though, which was the main disappointment.

*who's a brilliant cook and can still drink me under the table, incidentally.

liadnan: (Default)

Give or take Gregorian calendar reforms and suchlike irritations, the Roman Empire finally finally ended 550 years ago today, around lunchtime. I was rather impressed that the Today programme actually noticed. (Well, it's one of the dates. Various bits in Greece actually held out for a few years longer).

I can't decide whether or not to go and see my parents this week. I know I really really should, but I am feeling severe London Inertia. This despite the fact that if the weather does hold out for the weekend then rural Hampshire is going to be a far better place to be than central London.

I'm also still debating whether or not to buy a proms season ticket this year. It costs a lot, and you don't break even (against just buying arena tickets on the door each time) unless you go to something like 45 concerts, which just isn't going to happen, but at least it guarantees that you get in. Ho hum. It does look like a good season.

As a respectable law abiding citizen the idea of getting my Last Night free ticket and selling it at the end of the season for about twice the price of the season ticket itself to those poor fools who actually want to go to the Last Night has not, of course, even crossed my mind. (To be honest, I'm not sure that is even possible any more, and I wouldn't anyway.)

liadnan: (Default)

Fun lunch (after a spectacularly efficient DJ dealt with my case in less than the five minutes allotted, rather than the 15 or so more than allotted that is usual) with Ailbhe, who took me all round Reading including to the abbey. Reading is indeed a far more pleasant place than I was previously aware.

Now sitting in my office listening to Belle and Sebastian (Fold your hands child) very very quietly in case someone comes in to complain from next door. As a result I'm trying to work out if Legal Man is on any of the albums and if, as I suspect, not, why I think I own a copy.

I'm also vaguely wondering why XP frequently forgets I have a DVD/CD player in this machine, and I have to spend ages convincing it otherwise. Linux doesn't, but I never use that and only have it on for show and in the ambition that one day I might get around to doing something with it.

I have decided I want a cat. Siamese for choice: it's a family thing, we used to breed them, but they cost a fortune.

Proms guide is out. Trying to decide whether I can afford a season ticket this year. The answer is almost certainly "no, but hey...". I so badly need someone to take control of my money from me.


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