More music!

Wednesday evening I went to Milan Auditorium to hear a very interesting concert; but I got more than I bargained for! First we heard Grieg’s suite no.1 op.46 da Peer Gynt. It’s a piece everyone knows and loves, particularly the descriptive “morning” shimmering like sunrays on water!

After the interval Dvorak’s Number 9 commonly known as “the New World ” symphony. In parts reminiscent of Gershwin (in my uneducated opinion) and containing the very lovely Largo.

In the middle and here’s where it gets interesting, the conducter Corte-Real who is also a composer presented his own Noa-Noa (title of Paul Gauguin’s travel diary  written while he was in Tahiti). The fascinating thing is that Corte-Real in his introduction, explained that he has a neurological condition known as Synesthesia wherein sounds are colours for him, colours sounds. This is not unlike quite a few famous artists including the French poet Rimbaud who wrote” Voyelles “giving sounds their perceived colour.

It’s very interesting when a half- remembered word or item comes back to life…in fact after the concert I got into various sites and started reading….

Teaching English

At long last!

This is my first video recording and it’s just a taste of what we’ll do in our conversation lessons. Lessons? More correctly I’d say practice. “Teacher talk” is very useful of course, it helps you get the rythyms of the language, so different from your own, but it’s far more important for most people to get a little practice. So, how about it?



La Scala

Last night I went to La Scala to see Ali Baba, an accademy production. Actually a kind of glorified end-of-term show! It wasn’t particularly good to tell the truth and I think most of the applause came from fond relations, but there again, everyone has to start somewhere. Cherubini’s less-than-spectacular music didn’t help either.


I love the feeling of excitement that buzzes around the little square where the early-birds sit and wait for those tall imposing doors to open. People of all nationalities hurrying  to their (in many cases) once-in-a-lifetime  treat. Nearly everyone having made the effort to dress nicely to underline the importance of the occasion.

Then the long climb up all those stairs to where the “poor” people sit! If you’re not overweight they can be some of the best seats in the house! Some of the boxes are awful! The best thing to do is fill the box with your friends, divide the price equally, then take turns at sitting in the front seats.




Yesterday evening I went to the Milan Auditorium for the first concert of the season.  It was wonderful to be back, sitting in a comfortable seat, soft low lights and enveloped by great music.

I’ve never really liked c.d’s  always preferring old-fashioned vinyl and I’m really happy it seems to be making a come-back. Maybe it has something to do with the ritual surrounding listening to a 33 r.p.m.? And certainly the ritual surrounding a concert is palpable.

Last night Weber, Schumann, Finzi, Respighi

Teaching English

Busy Day

Well, today will be a really busy day. This evening I am giving the presentation of the courses for the next academic year 2018/2019, and it’s really exciting. Seeing old students who just come to say hello and keep in touch and meeting new people, prospective learners who are trying to make up their minds about joining us.

What I love is the buzz of excitement, starting anew; and it always IS a new beginning, however many times you have taught the basics. The enthusiasm of your new learners fires you up and fills you with that get-up-and-go feeling that will last through most of the year.

I am an enthusiastic teacher, energy-driven, and I need to be because a lot of people come to their lessons after a hard day’s work. Learning must be something that makes them feel better about their lesson, their day, and ultimately, about themselves.