Sunday, November 15, 2015

22.6.69: Berlioz, radio and TV


Dear Mum, I’m still wending my happy way thru all your birthday presents and probably won’t have any teeth left by the time I’m finished! Didn’t I tell you that I did usher in St Paul’s? Actually I didn’t really usher, I just stood at the door and collected tickets and told people where to go. The concerts themselves were a little disappointing. Because St Paul’s is little more than one great echo chamber, only the people right at the front could get a satisfactory effect; although apparently it recorded very well. I stood at the back on both nights and consequently heard much of it as a not very remarkable blur. The most thrilling moment was, as it had been at home in Christchurch, when the ten tympani players different groups of brass players (scattered all over St Pauls) all played at once in that massive Dies Irae section in the Requiem. St Paul’s, for all that it stood up to the bombing of the last war, was actually trembling! Not the most pleasant of effects ˗ with the feeling that rather a large number of tons of masonry might be about to descend on your head at any moment!

How are all the invalids? Give my love to them all ˗ a bit belatedly, I’m afraid. I’ve been wracking my brains to try and remember if you actually said what was wrong with Mary and I don’t know if you did. I seem to remember something about it’s being similar to your operation ˗ but am I right or not?

I have the Verdi Requiem playing rather loudly in my ear at the moment (the other was the Berlioz) ˗ it never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful it is. I did some coaching with a mezzo on it earlier this year, and like it all the more each time I hear it.

I’ve been writing some more music, recently. I find it gets something out of my system, and though it would be nice to have some of it performed eventually, that particular aspect of it doesn’t greatly bother me.

The other evening David, Hazel and I walked down to Victoria thru St James Park to see a film, and on the way back (after we’d played on the by-then-deserted swings and see-saws in the Park!) we were strolling along frightening each other when 2 guys who were coming towards us suddenly stopped in front of us, and poked 2 white, long objects at us! After the initial shock I realised they were only rolled-up newspapers (!) but it was worrying for a moment. Anyway they were trying to find someone who had belted one of them on the head, for heaven’s sake! They went off muttering, as we were obviously very harmless. There seemed to be a lot of bodies wandering around the Park (and this was about 11.30) and I certainly would never go in there alone at that time of night.

We’ve had Scottish TV down over the last week filming round the place and generally being a nuisance. I’m in two scenes, one of which they should use, with me seated at a piano waiting for a rehearsal to start, and also in the Italian lesson, which they’ll probably cut. Also, I forgot to tell you I was interviewed recently for the overseas transmission which should turn up at home eventually! If they don’t cut what I said right down. I felt surprisingly calm about it all, mainly because I got so little warning, I think! I’m also playing in the background of another rehearsal they recorded, so you never know ˗ I might be heard yet, love Mike.