We had a very musical weekend. On Saturday morning we went to a concert which was part of the Lower Machen Festival. The concert was a violin/viola and piano duo who were extremely good. It consisted of 3 pieces, 2 by local composers who were both present. One of them was like listening to a foreign language conversation - you knew something was being said, but had no idea what it was, though B thought it was crap as well, so I felt that my judgement was pretty justified. The other piece by Peter Reynolds was very pretty, and I liked that. The third piece was by a very well known composer called Hilary Tamm, and didn't seem to have anything much to say at all really. I've heard a few pieces by her and none of them have seemed very special although she gets lots of plaudits they all seem a bit dull to me. The last bit was an arrangement for viola and piano of 6 sections of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet which worked much better than I would have thought it would.
We were discussing the number of concerts of contemporary music that we listen to that have unremarkable music in them. We wondered if we were missing the point, or if we were just like the child in The Emperor's New clothes story and were the only ones seeing reality. I suppose that there will always be pieces of well known music that I don't like which other people do (Wagner for instance) and that this is just an extension of that.
On Sunday evening we went to a different concert which was celebrating Tudor music. A Cardiff choir called Cantemus who are very good indeed and Ensemble Hercules (who perform at the Globe) doing a mix of sacred and secular music and it was excellent. The Ensemble played some instruments I'd never seen before eg a cornetto and were terrific. They did a mixture of Byrd, Tallis, gibbons etc and included some pieces by Henry VIII as well, which were actually lovely.
The church benches in both cases however were less than lovely to the backside.