Monday, 10 October 2011

Beethoven'd out

After a very solid week of rehearsals, the choir had our two performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. The performances were sold out, and the audiences went away very happy. As did the performers. My second performance was better than the first. We were all on a high, and came away glowing and floating. The power of song! However, I intend never to sing it again. It is a voice wrecker. And exhausting. Three times in one lifetime is plenty.

As I sit here typing away, listening to Portuguese polyphony (totally unaccompanied, serenely and austerely beautiful), I muse about the Big Noise school of music. Beethoven's Ninth fits into that category. Brass, drums, and heavy sounds, with lots of blaring.  Magnificent, but I don't need to hear it for another few years. My mind is still playing it relentlessly, and all the bits I had some trouble with have now fallen into my memory. It all kept me wide awake for most of last night. Then the towards morning noises started: garbage trucks, birds, car traffic and then aeroplanes. I live on a frequently used flight path, not very distant from the airport, (although to travel there by taxi costs me a good $50).

I went to the opera study group this morning, and listened to a completely different sort of music, an opera by Vivaldi, which is being staged here some weeks from now. Luscious and melodious. Full of counter-tenors. I will be going to one of the performances. The plot is a shocker, though. Husband, the king, decides to test his wife's character, and inflicts numerous extremely cruel and vicious trials and tribulations upon her. She bears it all with fortitude and true nobility of character, and emerges from these loathsome tests totally blameless, and finally he says to her, 'Just testing, and you passed'. It seems a spasm of irritation finally crosses her features, but apparently they all live happily ever after. It sounds like an ecstatically satisfying marriage between a sadist and a masochist. But I could be wrong. It could well be sheer misery.

It is not always a good idea to contemplate the nature of matrimony.

Despite having been lectured about having far too many books, this weekend I bought another four, none of which I could possibly do without. Some people just won't or cannot learn. Hopeless.


Elisabeth said...

You can never have enough books, I reckon, and this marriage you describe does indeed sound like the marriage from hell.

For the rest here, your music and singing sounds wonderful however exhausting.

Pam said...

Books are not luxuries but necessities.

Mary said...

Delurking to say that maybe you should investigate a Kindle? I always resisted them but now am completely in love.

I will still buy books about beautiful things like photography but after the initial outlay I am finding it so wonderful to download a book for 10 dollars or so and best of all- I am not adding to my already cluttered bookshelves.

Mary said...

And also - could you tell me a little more about the Portuguese music - it sounds gorgeous.

persiflage said...

Thanks, Mary. I do love hard copy, and the handling of the books, and thus so far, I think I prefer the hard copy and the profusion of options my book collection provides. I love the discovery of books you get from browsing and think buying on line would be far more specific rather than a process of discovery.

The Portuguese polyphony I was listening to is a Naxos CD, called Portuguese Polyphony, 8.553310 and includes some of the the composers who flourished from the mid 16th to mid 17th centuries, including Manuel Cardoso, Duarte Lobo and Felipe de Magalhaes, most of whom I'd never heard of previously. It is sacred music. I have a passion for vocal music, and love early music, being a singer rather than an instrument player. My early choral experience was a capella music, and I became quite entranced by it. The Spanish and Portuguese music has an austerity and beauty which is quite extraordinary, I find.

Naxos have put out quite a few of such early music CDs, so if you are dipping your toes into the water, the CDs cost only $10 and you could probably try out a few samples on line.

Meggie said...

Too many are never enough, for books!