(Saturday & Sunday, 23rd and 24th May 2020)
I woke in the middle of Friday night for a visit to the loo, then couldn't get back to sleep. Brain on overdrive again. Twenty minutes before it was my turn to get up, at 7 am, I decided to lie and wait 'til that time, then promptly fell asleep for a solid hour. In the mean time, B had got up and was doing the jobs downstairs. Ah well my turn for the next couple of mornings.
And Saturday night was BABS Live ! Two hours of indulgence in British Barbershop, with its best on view and some important international guests. This being a well conceived substitute for the BABS Annual Convention, which had been cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The full BABS Live is two hours long, so watch it if you're a fan, but if you only want to see Hallmarks 'performance', which would be quite understandable, than simply watch the second embedded video below; the one with the lovely Mark Pickin looking at you and pointing meaningfully!
The song that was new to Hallmark of Harmony's repertoire just before the lockdown, had to be learned, rehearsed and 'performed' virtually, digitally, with individual audio recordings from each of the singers, woven into a multi-tracked musical masterpiece with video overlays of each of us playing the fool, by our musical maestro DM, Tim Briggs. Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in The Dark", seemingly a metaphorically appropriate title for a song of our times.
Sunday has been a lazy day, writing, thinking occasionally playing with the dogs, but no great adventures ... and posting the poem, "Barbershop is ..." in My Poetry Library.
Saturday's music choice by Clemency Burton-Hill, as if you haven't already had enough wonder for the day, is a gem. "Romance for Violin and Piano", Op.23 by Amy Beach (1867-1944), who was another pioneering woman born in the 19th Century. As with Clara Schumann and Alice Mary Smith during this last week, this was a difficult time for women to make waves in the music (or literary) world. And this piece is beautiful. Many men of that era, least of all her husband, an eminent Doctor, who restricted her recitals and prevented her taking lessons to improve her composing, never knew what they were missing, what a genuine genius she developed, perhaps as a result of being dependant on her own abilities. I think we understand now that music has the power to overcome prejudice with a vengeance, but it is sad that she was never allowed to become as well known as she might now be.
Sunday's music is "Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major, Op.73 ('Emperor') 1: Allegro by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). This was Beethoven's final piano concerto. Described by Burton-Hill as a 'colossus' and, given that the first, allegro, movement lasts for twenty minutes, it is an engrossing listen. The above link is to the first movement, but it is worth indulging yourself in the whole magnificent work for the full duration of its forty minutes. It will reward you.
However you may be affected by anything I've written here, do let me know by leaving a comment below or, if you prefer not to, share your thoughts with a trusted friend or someone you love.