Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Quiet City

I know this has nothing to do with my garden, or my Mimico Maison, but after writing about the Copeland clarinet concerto yesterday, I couldn't leave "Quiet City" out of the picture.  I don't think there is anything very useful I can say about this composition for orchestra, with trumpet and cor anglais soloists, other than to note that it truly is one of my absolute favourite compositions of all time.  (although I could tell you that the first time I heard it, I was driving, and was so mesmerized, and profoundly moved, I had to pull over to finish listening to it, for fear of distracted driving).
There is an interesting bit of background to be had on Wikipedia about the origins of the piece.  Otherwise, I simply invite you to listen and reflect.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Copeland clarinet concerto

Whilst driving to Paris yesterday, we listened to CBC radio two in the car.  As part of their Remembrance Day programming, they played a work that I haven't heard in probably a decade, but one which I absolutely adore - the Copeland clarinet concerto.  It was one of those things I had on a CD at one point, and which I became completely obsessed with....listening to it over and over again, several times a day for a couple of weeks, almost to the exclusion of any other piece (this is an old habit of mine with music I like).  Then, eventually and predictably, I hit the tipping point, where my obsessive interest turned against me, and I could not bear to hear it even a single time more.   Thankfully, the intervening decade appears to have reset the balance, and on hearing it yesterday, I was reminded of why it had triggered that mesmerizing, compulsive intensity of feeling in me.  And today, I was absolutely delighted to find a two-part YouTube video, of a performance conducted by Aaron Copeland himself, with Benny Goodman, for whom the piece was orginally intended, as the soloist.  I still can't quite get over how Copeland takes us from languid, pastoral tranquility, beautifully rendered, into a madness of jazz-age inspired, rhythmically propulsive driving energy....but he does, and very successfully.  If you can, make time to listen to both parts of the video, and hear that contrast for yourself.  If you haven't come across this piece,  do let me know what your thoughts and reactions are to it.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A trip to Paris this weekend.

Been a busy weekend.  Yesterday, in a moment of unusual decisiveness, I found a pair of lights for my kitchen, which is currently in the midst of a redecoration which MUST be finished for Christmas.  About 8 years ago, I stumbled across a lighting store on Broadview, that seemed to specialize in reproduction 1920s and 30s lighting, and found a perfect fixture for the downstairs hallway.  After lots of internet browsing for new kitchen lights, and no decision, I remembered that store, and decided to see if it was still there.  Unfortunately, it is no more, but across the street, Der Dietemann antiques had a whole windowful of art deco lighting, so we had a look inside.  The shop was overflowing with all sorts, and after a few minutes talking with the owner, Albert, I decided that a pair of simple schoolhouse lights would be ideal.  The store is going to fix them up to my specifications, and will even install them for me to the bargain, so I won't have the pain of fiddling around with wires.

Then in the evening, the trio and I had a gig, at a birthday party for a Hungarian octogenerian.  We did a couple of hours of foxtrots, tangos, Gershwin songs and the like, which came off really well despite challenges trying to get any time to rehearse.  It helped considerably that the audience was of an age and demographic to fully appreciate our repertoire!  We had some sing-along and clap-along going on, and if there had been more floor space, I think we could have seen the rug being cut up, so to speak.

And then today, Davey and I had a nice drive out in the country.  For a while now, I've been following the blog of Daryl McMahon, and so today, I finally made a trip out to Paris, Ontario, to see his work at a Christmas Open House at his beautiful home.  Can't show pictures of everything we brought home, in case they end up as Christmas gifts.  If you haven't seen his work before, you must check out his blog to see examples of his amazing work, and find a chance to catch one of his shows if you can.
Paris, Ontario is quite a lovely, old country town.  Lots of early industrial development along the grand river, and plenty of examples of early 19th century architecture, some beautifully maintained and pristine, and others looking much more Dickensian.  In it's day, it must have been a wealthy and bustling little town, and it's lucky that it's survived without too much unfortunate redevelopment.
Photo doesn't do these candle hooks for the Christmas tree justice.  They cleverly been made with decorative (non-functioning) candles, to avoid any serious fire hazard.  Check out Daryl's blog to see much more elaborate and spectacular examples of his work.
This fascinating house was really eye-catching.  The stone walls were  lined with regular courses of river pebbles, much like flints are sometimes seen as a facing of old houses in East Anglia.  I'd never seen this type of treatment in Ontario.

The front entrance was very much like a mausoleum - highly imposing.  The house stretched back into the large lot for ages, with one addition after another at the back.  Would love to take a look inside.

Meanwhile, back in Mimico, my kitchen is in a state.  The hole in the ceiling is the last evidence of the bathroom issues that have plagued me since labour day.  All fixed now, except this ceiling issue, which hopefully will be taken care of very shortly.

The cupboard doors are off because I'm finally re-painting the cabinets.  I have the day off work tomorrow, so will finish off garden chores, and hope to make some progress with these cabinets.