Monday, July 27, 2015

Great Minds Against Themselves Conspire

Henry Purcell and Nahum Tate’s Dido and Aeneas is a piece with a rich performance history in modern times. Since a revival in 1895 and an edition printed in 1889, the work has drawn the attention of a number of musical celebrities including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten, Christopher Hogwood, William Christie, and Alexander Weimann – who, along with Les Voix Baroques, will be performing it at Chamberfest 2015. A triumph of human tragedy, today countless recordings of Dido are available and it sits as one of, if not the most well-known opera in the English language. But can we claim, as Chamberfest has done in its promotional material, that it is “Henry Purcell’s greatest of all English operas”?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Crossing off my list

Originally published on Wolfgang's Tonic.

Making lists has been crucial to my development as an artist. For eight years I’ve set achievable goals for myself, giving me the drive I’ve needed to reach where I am today. On my most important list, titled as bassoonist, I make three categories: short-, medium-, and long-term. The long term goals are, of course, the most ambitious and it has only been over the last three years or so that I’ve been able to cross off and replace a number of the ‘to-dos’ in that category. On the 27th of July, I’ll be able to mark another task as complete.

Friday, July 17, 2015

An Unfortunate Detail

On my way across the Atlantic on Wednesday I received a communication about an upcoming performance. It was a line that any bassoonist dreads, especially one who is already in transit to the performance: “Sorry for any confusion, but it’s at 392.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

There's a smell about this church

There's a smell about this church. From the South-East corner of the yard of the Abbaye de Saint-Riquier the breeze tastes sweet. The flowers which line the lawn are in full bloom yet there aren't enough of them, to my estimate, which could produce such a presence.

The Gothic abbey is encircled on three sides by a structure which struck me to be of 19th century French design. Beginning adjacent to the ornate facade, the later building surrounds the south and east sides of the abbey in a rectangular fashion. It has a simplicity to it: its long, narrow design with windowed walls are uniform, only lightly accented. The abbey's massive construction with flying buttresses, gargoyles, and other decorations make for a stark contrast.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Google Maps c. 1746

The Centre for Metropolitan History and Museum of London Archaeology has georeferenced a map using the Google Maps platform.

In taking John Rocque's impressive A plan of the cities of London and Westminster, and borough of Southwark, and laying it over the current map and marking common points between the original survey and the GIS (you can read all about the process here, a wonderful interactive map has been created.

John Rocque's original map, divided into 24, 3.84 x 2.01 meter sheets.
This is as good of a look as one can get if you're interested in the geography of Handel's London.

Check it out at
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