I haven't posted recently because either nothing has been happening or too much has been happening.
Last week was concerts week.
Wednesday we went to what the BBC National Orchestra of Wales call a Composer Portrait. They focus on contemporary composers, and this one was for Dutch composers. They had 3 pieces played, one of which was dull, the second I enjoyed and the third one split the Noyes/McNabb vote. The composer had the percussion players breaking birch twigs (to evoke saunas because the composer was actually Swedish although lives in Holland) which would have been ok in small doses but went on too long. Brian however really liked it, so we agreed to differ on that one.
Thursday we went to Swansea to hear a new opera by a composer called Nicola le Fanu. It started well because we met a couple of friends who we haven't seen for a while, then another couple of friends arrived too, so we had a really nice chat before the concert started. The first piece was an trio which was ok, not exciting or particularly original but ok. Then came the second piece. It didn't start well when the violinist was staring up to heaven when she played, but when the percussion player started growling .... oh dear. During the 1960's there were lots of these sort of things because people were just trying anything to see what happened. Had it been the 1960's it would still have been awful, but it would have been less out of place. We could not fathom why it was performed, because it was absolute crap. Out of date absolute crap. The opera wasn't up to much either, not as dire as the previous piece, but the libretto was poor and the music dull.
Friday we went to the Welsh National Orchestra and Chorus in St Davids Hall. The new conductor has started doing concerts with the WNO orchestra, and we went to one earlier in the year which was really good and he is doing some really interesting programming. Friday's concert was stunning. The theme was Vienna, and started with Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, went on to a short piece by Schoenberg (forgotten the title) about the death of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, and finished with Brahm's German Requiem.
It was absolutely fantastic. It occurred to me that you don't get a professional choir of 40 people, usually choral pieces like the Brahms are sung by amateur choirs, even if they are very good amateur choirs (like all the BBC ones or the Halle), so to have a professional choir, used to singing together under far more demanding circumstances (no score, raked stage, costumes etc) was a treat. And they were brilliant. I had shivers during the performance. Wonderful.
Over the weekend we came down to earth with a big bump and have been painting the tv room and downstairs loo, including all the woodwork, all weekend. I am now really tired. We used a paint pod for the walls which was really good, very non messy. This is the first time I have used a roller and not ended up with almost as much on me as got onto the walls.