Archive for the ‘contrabassoon’ category

Honda — perpetual motion machine

October 27, 2007

my car!(tempting fate, I know!)

Just got the Huge Friendly Giant back from its MoT ( = annual roadworthiness test) which it passed without a hitch, with well over 101,000 miles on the clock.  (As the man at Elite Motors said:  ‘It’s a Honda… if it fails, it’ll be on something silly like a light bulb.’)

This is just to express my admiration to Honda for making such a beautifully engineered and reliable machine.  When I bought this Prelude two years ago, I was worried about its high mileage:  ‘What do you call high mileage?’ said a friend. ‘83,000 miles.’  ‘My Honda’s done 140,000 and it NEVER goes wrong!’  (Famous last words… eventually hers lost its brakes and shunted the car in front.  But she had already decided she’d like a new one by then anyway.)

 kallipygous honda

For its 100,000th birthday I treated it to a service and a new pair of chrome exhaust trims (the previous ones having, er, mysteriously disappeared).

Of course there are (more…)

quick roundup

October 23, 2007

…in case you were wondering where I’ve been…

Thursday was the Phoenix Orchestra concert (that’s the London Phoenix Orchestra — I didn’t hop over to Arizona!) — brilliant and lots of fun.  The singers were super too — Mary Nelson lovely and full of character (and a sweet voice) (and a nice simple red dress), Amos Christie a smouldering tenor who gave the most heartbreaking rendition of Lensky’s aria from Eugene Onegin.  And the bassoons had a good blast in the ‘Dragons d’Alcala’ interlude from Carmen…

Friday was (two hours in a traffic jam, then) rehearsal of the Phoenix Wind Quintet (no relation) prior to our gig in Bradford in a couple of weeks — ‘light’ music for a party.  Going well…

Saturday was (more traffic and one-ways and queuing for car parks and) a concert in Kingston (that’s Surrey, not Jamaica)…  Blowing the contra in Gershwin and Liadov and 3rd bassoon in a piece by Jonathan Dove… then sitting out the second half which was Tchaikovsky 4th Symph — never quite realised what a MAD piece that is.  Terrific.  Conductor of Kingston Philharmonia was our very own Lev Parikian (who does a different orchestra every night of the week, it seems… How does he get around them all?  He has a folding bike)… Thank you to Mark and his wife for very nice company and meal before the show…

Sunday was (more…)


October 7, 2007

Devoted readers of FOUND Magazine’s Find of the Day will have discovered that CONTRABASSOON is an anagram of BRONCO SONATAS.  Whoopee!  (Thanks, ViVi).  Here’s a link to the relevant Comments page… (and no, that ISN’T me in the picture.  Ah, the perils of fame…)

Bronco Sonatas… great title for a piece!  Yes, I’ll definitely write it one day…

Divided loyalties, mixed feelings

August 26, 2007

Decisions, decisions… This week I had to decide between the Proms (using my season ticket) or the RPO Summer Serenade series at Cadogan Hall.  Having started the week on a terrific high with the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra prom (which ended with the kids doing a conga around the stage, wearing Venezuelan football shirts and twirling their instruments in the air while the audience rose to its feet and cheered), and a fine (but not roof-raising) account of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, I opted for some calm and civilised chamber music at Cadogan Hall.

Turned out to be a slightly low-key experience — everyone in the world (including all my friends, and even my colleagues who work at the Hall) were either on holiday (or on honeymoon, in one case) or at the Albert Hall or otherwise occupied, so the audiences were distinctly thin on the ground.

Tuesday was Mozart wind music — the C minor Serenade (what a fantastic piece) and the ’13 Wind’, which is lovely but does go on too long.  My initial feeling was that these were orchestral players not used to playing chamber music — they hadn’t realised how quietly they could, or should, play.  I didn’t recognise any of the players, which was unusual for me, apart from John Anderson on first oboe and David Chatterton on contrabassoon (not as authentic as a double bass would have been, but it was a great sound — up through the floorboards — and we contra players must stick together!). 

Wednesday (more…)