Beautiful Bach

Wellington College to review references to Sir Ron Brierley if guilty of  child exploitation material charges |

Today is Sunday November 1st. Kia ora katoa. Kia kaha!

It has been an interesting week. One of my highlights was going to a Bach concert last night, given by members of the NZSO.

This was an interesting excursion. The concert was to be held at the Alan Gibbs Centre at Wellington College. I had rarely been to Wellington College, despite being an old girl of Wellington Girls’ College; I had been to its neighbour, Wellington East Girls’ College several times. We went early so as to get a carpark.  We were able to park quite near; many others had come early, too. It was extremely windy. While we were looking for a carpark I saw the Sir Ron Brierly Turf notice. I was surprised that this hadn’t been removed, given the serous allegations against him.

The performing arts hall was very nice, with plenty of seating laid out. We got a free programme, and sat quite near the front, in the middle: what would have been good seats at the MFC.  There were raised seats at the back, but these were a long way away from the stage and the performers: I expected the music (mostly chamber music) to be quite intimate. There was quite a long interval, but there seemed to be no refreshments.

As the Hall filled up, it was evident that many people knew each other. We knew no one! I had seen the concert advertised, and wanted to go. It was not widely advertised. I really like the music of J.S. Bach; Deidre Irons was due to play a concerto by C.P.E. Bach on the Fortepiano; and they were to play the Orchestral Suite No. 3 with its Air on the G String. Huge attractions!

In the event, there were announcements before most items. The music was beautiful, but there was something strange about the acoustics. The sound was odd, even strident at times, dare I say it. I will be interested to see if this concert is reviewed in Monday’s Dominion Post. I really enjoyed the French Horn player: I know those instruments are really difficult to play. He certainly succeeded, playing Bach’s The Art of Fugue. I enjoyed his comments beforehand, too.

The Orchestral Suite was beautiful, of course, but it was played very fast and loudly, much faster than any of my recordings. There was quite a jazzy effect. The balance of the sound did not seem quite right. As I say, I hesitate to quibble, but I can, so I shall!

Afterwards we came out where the wind had dropped a bit but it was very cold. We made our way back to the car, and slowly drove down the drive, now dual-carriage. Someone was coming up – perhaps an Uber driver.  I checked on my phone that New World in Thorndon was still open: it stays open till 11 pm.

When we got there, there were some staff larking around dressed up for Halloween. The store was strangely empty – perhaps because many people were watching the All Blacks play rugby against the Wallabies in Sydney.

Raspberries are back! We bought some raspberries, doughnuts, and fresh bread – basic essentials really; then went home and had coffee and doughnuts while I played Bach’s beautiful Violin Concerto in E Major before I went to bed.

It was to be an interesting week, with the US presidential election due on November 3rd (Wednesday, our time).  I shall blog about that separately.

I enjoyed going to Tai Chi, meeting my cousin for lunch at a very nice café that I  hadn’t been to before; hymn singing on Wednesday morning; singing again on Thursday, meeting an old friend in the afternoon, having my cleaner come on Friday (spoiler alert: I do quite a bit of tidying up before he comes), and later that day visiting one of my sons and his delightful family.

On Saturday JD and I went to the film Rams, at Pauatahanui. It is an Australian film, starring our very own Sam Neill.  This movie was not on my list of special films to see, but we needed something to distract ourselves from the US election results.  It turned out to be quite a “good” movie. The farmer’s despair initially when they were forced to give up their sheep because of disease, and the lack of empathy from bureaucracy was well conveyed. 

I was especially moved by the severity of the bush fire, the way many came together to fight it, headed by a woman, and the sense of darkness and difficulty breathing that was so well conveyed. When there is an emergency, the basics are the most important – savings lives, whether they be human or animal. And yes, they did rake the leaves, and we saw a dead wallaby.

When we got home, Biden’s lead in the vote-counting had increased, but he had still not been announced President-elect.

That’s it for now. Ngā mihi.

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