This evening, still raining. One of my favourite directors, Claus Peter Flor, directing one of my favourite pieces, Beethoven’s Concerto for violin in Re maggiore op.61.This is a mind -blowing classical music experience, one of those which made me decide classical music was my scene. Certain parts of it cause me the Stendhal syndrome, I have trouble breathing, really they take your breath away. A violinist I didn’t know, very impressive from the word go. Dressed all in black, tall with an unusual long black coat à la Paganini? ( Answer to myself: actually Paganini’s coat was a bit shorter, but you get the gist , the drama was there) Whatever you thought about his rather theatrical fashion choices, the moment he started playing, you thought again, a real virtuoso. That he was playing a Guanieri del Gesu 1742 ,was an added bonus.
Now you’re probably asking: funny/ strange or funny /haha .Well maybe a bit of both. I decided to have a totally me- day after a very hard week’s work. So hairdresser in the morning, rain, and the yearly Christmas visit to Agribrianza for their mega seasonal spectacular! I don’t know how those poor people stand being bombarded with dreadful Americanised Xmas songs for the whole long season. They’ve also got dog strollers now! I suppose they’ve had too many incidents of dogs trailing tinsel, breaking balls, and might they have eaten the sheep from the Christmas scene? Anyway, this year they can’t because they are now put in one of the aforementioned dog strollers. This also means that petless people won’t trip over their leashes nor be obliged to try and get past the usual little huddle of people paying tribute to…..you’ve guessed! Not baby Jesus, he’s not there yet any way, but Fido, Bobby or Lola! I really like dogs but the anthropomorphising that goes with them drives me nuts! (I even herard a lady call her dog ” come to mama”.So what does that mean, mama is a bitch?
Today I had to kill time in a rather squallid part of Sesto San Giovanni. An area seemingly lacking in everything except mechanics ,funeral homes and Chinese emporia full of tacky Christmas plastic. I found a spartan bar manned by two ladies (then maybe womanned ?) from Eastern Europe. One of them was having fun practising her English by speaking to all her bewildered customers in an enthusiastic, if broken English. The other one, from Moldavia gave me a little lecture about closed minds, especially Italians and Russians though people from Moldavia are exempt. It’s amazing the amount of information you can glean if you’re willing to listen. Then, still more time to kill I went for a walk to “collect” grafitti. Sesto is full of them and they’re very interesting, even the dying ones. I guess the artists don’t use very high quality paint because some have only been on the walls for ten years or so and they’re already crumbling. Others are beginning to disappear under the vigorous growth of ivy. I’d like to know this; do the artists paint them as a kind of offering to IMPERMANENCE, a kind of Westerners” mandala? or should we be doing something to save them as permanent works of art? If any grafitti artists read this I’d be very pleased to get an answer.
An interesting title, an interesting concert. Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain”, who doesn’t remember the Witches Sabbath in Walt Disney’s Fantasia? Probably based on Slavic folk legends concerning the summer solstice on St John’s Eve…or was it? Some believe that it relates to the composer’s stay in Italy. Mussorgsky was inspired by the folk legends surrounding the witches of Benevento on Monte Irpino. Benevento was world famous in the middle ages for being a witch -infested spot. First the excitement, fast furious energy then finally, the church bell dispelling night- thoughts and restoring serenity .Mussorgsky’s work has been revised and re –revised not least by Stokovsky for Disney.
Then an unusual concert for trombone by Michael Nyman, (of “piano lesson” fame and a very busy musician). Unusual but full of familiar themes like the chiarivari ( just to refresh your memory it is a peasant tumult or mock parade accompanied by “rough music”, pots and pans, bells and bones, and in which the “wrongdoer” is subjected to public humiliation and derided in ribald verses…targets were unmarried mothers, wifebeaters, marriages with mixed age couples adulterous relationships) this form of popular justice is not so unlike the shaming that goes on on social media nowadays is it? I guess all communiites, even global ones need to keep hold of the societal reins. And finishing with Stravinsky’s wonderful Firebird. written for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes ,it is a piece based on another Russian Folk tale.
Well it’s time to get my act together. It’s getting harder by the minute to write this blog, yes it’s an uphill struggle, maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew because I’ve certainly got my work cut out .I’m beginning to feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders dragging me down! My readers are very savvy people and coming from so many different backgrounds they have so much expertise so I can’t really bluff my way! They’ll put me in the shade. But I want to shine. Really I must pull out all the stops, leave no stone unturned, stop at nothing. So get off to a flying start and believe that the world’s your oyster, bite the bullet, pull your socks up, take the bull by the horns, get cracking, nose to the grindstone, Anne!