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My life continues a bit fractured, so there'll be no thoughtful exploration of a single theme in this post, but once again, a jumble of bits and pieces.  First, just for your pleasure, is a link to a photo of a beautiful white kangaroo

Second, a concert report!  Last weekend I heard for the first time Stokowski's transcription for orchestra of Bach's Fugue in G Minor - which absolutely entranced me for the first ... oh, about two-thirds, I guess.  And then it got a bit muddied, overloaded, too much jam on a piece of toast - which was more down to the orchestra than to Bach or Stokowski, I think, having come home and listened to other versions.  Still - great to hear, and I really was entranced for most of it, and in any case that was only the curtain-raiser to the main piece of the night, which was...
Daimo Eriko on marimba, playing a wonderfully complex piece, Lauda Concertata, by Akira Ifukube.   Here's a three-minute scrap of it, but it doesn't do justice to the excitement and dynamism of the full thing (which is about thirty minutes long).  Daimo Eriko was amazing, all whirling energy and intensity and total engagement, with the piece and with the orchestra, and they with her.  Overall, she and they and the whole experience - brilliant, and very exciting.
(There was some Brahms or other after the intermission, but ... Brahms just didn't cut it after that excitement.)

Third, and less pleasingly, in the category of Things I Didn't Know: 
I've only just learned that "Tonto", which is the name I know for the Lone Ranger's offsider, means "Stupid" in Italian and Spanish, which is really depressing..  :( 
Spanish is the more relevant, I guess, but it was Italian I saw it in, and only then cross-checked to Spanish.  
(Speaking of names, by the way - Reality Winner??)

Last:  Best wishes, UK voters! 

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Literature!  Theatre!  Music!  and a swimming pool!!  It was a brilliant, brilliant weekend.  Oh, and on Friday night, a spectacular and silent lightning storm.  amazing!

The theatre wasn't really on the weekend - it was on Thursday night, but near enough, near enough - and it was terrific.  Sombre in places, and theatre-of-ideas in places (difficult, because I don't have enough language to follow the debates) and romance in places (pah, humbug!) and obligatory funny bits in places (ummm) but still - exciting production, and I loved the sets and the acting, and the ideas, very much.

The lightning storm - how far away does lightning have to be, to be completely silent?  It was amazing and beautiful, a huge storm around a whole quarter of the sky.

I started, and read most of, The Just City - which I'm enjoying, though not without niggles; it feels a bit two-bob-each-way between a novel and a fable, as if in all fairness (because it's a fable,a thought experiment) one shouldn't fret too much about characters or history or finicky pedantic points. (Not every number, Apollo!  You mean every number up to twelve!)  But it's fun watching the experiment work out (doomed to fail! - at least, it seems to me that it has been, but I see there's sequels, which suggests the experiment doesn't end in this volume, anyway) - and in general it's very enjoyable, and a huge step up from Hild. (I bought them both in the same bookshop swoop, last March.)  It reminds me of how Martin Gardner used to wrap up his mathematical/logic problems in very appealing and amusing mini-stories. 

The music was - still is - the Sydney Piano Competition, available via internet for a limited number of days - I think it's four weeks from when they were broadcast.  Here's the first set of three finalists, in the 19th/20th Century concerto section, playing Saint-Saens (an odd choice for competition playing), Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.   So there were swathes of music throughout the weekend.

and swimming for hours!  This is a rare treat, and the opportunity was not wasted, not for a minute, in this hot weather!  I say, swimming, but a good bit of the time - nearly all the time - was also just splashing about, or standing chatting in the watery shade.  ahhhhh...  :)

So, all up, a great weekend.  :)

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It's been a busy weekend - opera, culinary triumph, further adventures with Victor Hugo...

The opera was on Saturday night - but was it really opera? )
But on to domestic arts! I'd decided (inspired by adaese :) ) to make a vegetarian kedgeree... )a vegetarian kedgeree... )a vegetarian kedgeree... )

Victor Hugo!
He does some great scenes!
and I have made progress on my NFE, of a sort - I've shifted the end-post closer, by simply cutting out some of the story. So I can feel that much closer to finishing. :)   Anxiety still gnaws, though.


Nov. 27th, 2014 08:54 pm
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I like lots of different kinds of music, including laid-back saxophone music.  :)   And tonight, I'll be off to a concert with saxophonist Trần Mạnh Tuấn, whose music I first heard in a taxi, in the taxi's CD player.  Ahhh... it felt wonderful... so cooling  (maybe it was hot day?) and calm.  :)  I loved it so much and enthused so much to the taxi-driver that he wanted to make me a present of it, which just goes to show how mellow saxophone music can make us.   (Thank you, Adolphe Sax.)  I'm not exactly sure, but I think what was playing then was this album.

And to those having Thanksgiving dinners today, or tonight, may they be wonderful and cool (errr...maybe cool is not exactly what's wanted in some places, as the northern hemisphere nudges towards winter) and calm and mellow:   dulcet, mellifluous, smooth, warm, rich, says the online thesaurus -- genial, affable, pleasant, relaxed, easy-going...   Yep.  That's what I'm wishing for all of you, whether at Thanksgiving dinners or not!

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Lots of cultural experiences over the past week, including some classic Doctor Who, (Fourth Doctor, with jelly-babies and scarf) and  the first two Vorkosigan novels.  But as well as those, a couple of the seriously greats:

Last Thursday I was at a performance of Verdi's RequiemTo which I can only say... )

And I'm reading, and marvelling over, the truly breathtaking Bleak House.   It's crammed full of invention -- there's at least three normal Dickens-novels in there (which is to say ten ordinary-writer novels). For a start, there's... )
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Hesperion XXI and Jordi Savall and Monserrat Figuerras and all of them have given so much to me as a listener over the years.  I have heard them at several different concerts at different Adelaide Festivals, and have spoken with the (late and much-missed) astonishingly lovely Montserrat Figuerras after a concert one night, as she walked back from the Adelaide Town hall to her hotel - she was most wonderfully gracious and warm and open-hearted. As indeed was Jordi Savall one time in St Peter's Cathedral, when he let a little knot of admirers gather around his viol de gamba, and look at it. He was perceptibly anxious in case some sort of barbarism or idiocy might emerge, but gentle and courteous and willing to trust us.  Just mindblowing loveliness and generosity.

And last night Hesperion XXI presented in Sydney The Jerusalem Project, and are doing it again in Melbourne tomorrow and then Wednesday, using Jewish, Christian and Muslim music to express "the dream of Jerusalem shared by the faiths: a holy ideal transcending walls of stone and the city's tumultuous history." 
From the review:
...the most moving, exquisite vocal and instrumental sounds to be heard this side of heaven, including the gentle enchantment cast by Savall's own viol and rebab. Two recordings are deftly interwoven: Shlomo Katz's heart-rending Hymn To The Victims Of Auschwitz and one by soprano Montserrat Figueras, Savall's late wife.

To have Israel's Lubna Salame and Palestine's Mahmud Husein singing together in the finale makes one's breast ache with hope.

I'm aching with wonderment that people can do so much with music.


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