Concert for Japan

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The last of the Berlin Philharmonic concerts at the Rialto was their Concert for Japan.  The first piece was a Japanese percussive piece called Flows from me what you call time.  At one point one of the musicians was playing a hand drum.  My hands were trying to twitch in time with his playing.  I get to play with The Unfortunate Repercussions every couple of months at the end of the Khamzin Tribe hafla.  I’m looking forward to the All Hallows Hafla at the end of this month.

Their second piece was Dmitri Shostakovitch’s Fifth Symphony, a piece to which I was quite happy to be introduced.  That ends the series of four concerts from the Berlin Philharmonic.  The first opera of the new Metropolitan Opera season, Anna Bolena, does not begin until November, a birthday present to myself.  In the meantime there are two movies that tempt me: The Orator (O Le Tulafale) and Habeamus Papam.  Might have to juggle my calendar to see if I can get to the second one.

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Northern Irish addresses and Waldbuhne 2011

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Event for this week was an open lecture at the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies on form and language in contemporary Scottish poetry.  Apparently the Scottish poets are borrowing from the idea pioneered by W. B. Yeats that the poet must be rooted in community.  Place and location are necessary to any poet; and form and pattern give force to a poem.  It made sense when it produces accessible poetry.  The lecture finished with a consideration of numerology in the poetry of Paul Muldoon.  I concluded that I didn’t understand what they are talking about.  The guy must be a poet’s poet which is a bit beyond my ken.  Numerology in poetry is another idea that goes back to Yeats, so I blame him.

Today’s treat was watching the Berlin Philharmonic at the Waldbuhne.  That was wonderful.  They began with some short pieces: Shostakovitch’s Jazz Piece, which isn’t real jazz, I didn’t detect any improvisation or feeling in it.  As the sun set in the natural amphitheatre then they moved onto more toothier pieces: Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and the Pines of Rome.  They caught close-ups of people in the audience and there was one woman with a child in her lap and a tear running down her cheek as they played Pines near a catacomb.

Then they brought the percussion out and finished with Berliner Luft.  I hadn’t heard it before.  It proved to be one of those special pieces, like being at a Last Nigh of the Proms.  I didn’t know Germans had that in them as they joined in the popular tune with clapping and whistles.  What a special treat, especially for the audience.

Lunch time reading this week has been from Perdido Street Station by China Miéville.

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I took Friday off because I was expecting to be traveling to Cromwell for Southern Presbytery’s annual meeting.  I was waiting at one o’clock to be picked up.  By the time it got to two o’clock I knew something was wrong and it was beginning to rain.  I sent a text to Yew Tree Woman and she phoned me to say that she had contacted my ride and I had got my dates wrong.  The annual meeting is the second weekend in August and not the first weekend.  This is frustrating because it meant I had taken a day’s leave for no purpose and would have to do the same again next week.  I had told everyone that I will be away on Saturday.  All I can do for now is keep breathing.

The day was not a complete write-off as I spent some time on the computer working on the lexicon for my imaginary eclectic language.  I had made some notes on Indo-European words from Gamkralidze and Ivanov’s text book of the proto-language and worked my way through a third of them seeing which of them I could work into my lexicon for the language.  It’s so wonderful living so close to a university library.  I hope I can finish incorporating the list over the weekend.  Then I can return to making notes from the Descriptive Dictionary of Bislama.

Also I got an extra session in at the gym which is nice.  It keeps the knots out of my shoulders.

And today I got to watch the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra playing at the Madrid Royal Theatre on cinema at the Rialto.  They did two of my favorite pieces: Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez from his guitar concertos, I think this is a lesser known piece, which is undeserved; and Sergei Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2.  It was a delight to watch these pieces played out under conductor Simon Rattle and the cameras helped to guide the eye to the activity of the orchestra.  I would liked some commentary and interaction that the New York Metropolitan Opera has incorporated into Live on High Definition series.  The concert was still rewarding and I await to see the next one.

Back to reading Michael King’s History of New Zealand.