Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Anniversary (a)musings…

Just a little set of amuse-bouches – of hastily-scribbled, reasonably relevant, limericks… – to celebrate four years of blogging!

Read ’em and weep

The Bard of the village of Tysoe
Did wonder and worry just why so
     Few views were logged
     Of the words he had blogged
The paucity making him cry so

Hot off the press

There once was a brilliant Bard
Who typed so exceedingly hard
     That his fingers were numb
     (As was his poor bum)
And the keyboard he hammered was charred

Did Cicero say anything?

The Orchestra’s Writer-in-Residence
Loves using his words to set precedence
     With notes so unique
     They could well be in Greek
Ή ακόμα και για τους γούνιους ελέφαντες

Monday, 13 November 2017

“This section does not make sense as drafted…”

I’m sorry so little is happening on this blog at the moment: but serious issues with my health mean that other things must take priority. However, if you’re interested in the progress (or otherwise) of the “Pre-consultation draft” of the Neighbourhood Development Plan, I’d like to point you to Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s gritty response – from 31 July 2017. It may not be quite as detailed as mine – but it certainly is pithy! Thanks to Duke Senior, as always, for the heads-up!

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Wastage of the Willows – Branch II; Leaf V

Lone pilgrim…

Unlike most of the local creatures – who never ventured far from where they were born, throughout their lives – the Badger (at night) and the Water Rat (of a day) had both been keen explorers: the Badger knowing every copse, hedgerow, track, bump and lump, for miles around; and the Rat being acquainted with every inch of every stream, brook, source, and, of course, the River itself – the waters’ heights in every season; the currents that would catch others out; whether they were good to drink, swim or sail in; or just suitable for a good paddle!

The Mole, he felt, proudly, had been getting there gradually – not bad for someone who had spent most of his existence happily underground, before… – becoming an able navigator on land and by rowing boat; and being able to work his way back to most places from all the other ones: albeit sometimes by unexpected, but happy, diversions. The trees – should you spend long enough with them: learning their names, and their distinctive shapes; their histories… – were the most amenable guides: and he would often spend hours, resting against their trunks, between habituated, enfolding roots, reading; or lying flat beneath their summer shade, doing nothing much other than the occasional bit of thinking, or humming, or snoozing, of course; occasionally sketching the most distinctive ones – the pollarded willows, reinforcing the River’s banks; the stools of coppiced ash, just inside the Wild Wood; the stag-headed field-oaks – or just an individual leaf, twig, branch or fruit. “Not forgetting Badger’s small-leaved lime,” whispered the Mole, sadly.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

It seems Mrs Gump was right. The Good Lady Bard brought home such “a box of chocolates” just over three weeks ago – a generous thank-you gift… – and one of its many yummy constituents took me completely by surprise: giving me an intense allergic reaction. Two antihistamines, and two hours – plus many puffs of my blue Salbutamol inhaler – later, and I was on the way to recovery. It could have been much worse, though. The upshot being that I now take a pair of prescribed EpiPens with me – absolutely everywhere I go.

It looks like one – or some combination – of the many proteins in cow’s milk is to blame (eleven various forms of “milk”, from “Dried Whole Milk” to “Dried Whey”, were listed amongst the fifty-eight(!) ingredients): meaning that foodstuffs I have consumed all my life (and once helped to produce) are now permanently verboten. (Because of the 92% probability of cross‑reactivity, anything containing sheep’s and goat’s milk is also off the table. Mare’s – or even camel’s – milk will, in all likelihood, be just fine, though!)

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

All the remain is “Welcome”…!

Welcome to the blog of the Bard of Tysoe… – especially if this is your first visit (hopefully, of many)! If you’ve arrived here after noticing the advert in the Tysoe & District Record (right), then a big ‘thank you’ for tapping in the address of this site manually: you are indeed – as the Old English would say – a wilcuma – that is, ‘a person whose coming is pleasing’ (and from where we get the word ’welcome’ itself). Hopefully, you will find posts that similarly(?) tell you something you didn’t know before; that entertain; make you scratch your head (in deep thought; or perhaps bafflement); and – in the case of reviews – make you wish you had been at that event (that is, presuming that you weren’t…). You may nod in unanimity; or disagree deeply with what I have to say; or simply have a question, as a result… – in which case, please feel free to leave a comment (the form appears at the bottom of each post); and I will, once I’ve (moderated and) published it (if your remarks haven’t broken my scant and simple rules of decency and defamation, etc.), try and answer it (if applicable) as soon as I can. (If you’re really fortunate, you may even get a post written especially for you, in response!)

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Beethoven – from page to stage (and beyond…)

As the title of this post indicates, it chronicles a journey through and around one piece of living, breathing music – in this case, the virtuosic, Mozart- and Haydn-influenced (but, nevertheless, recognizably) Beethoven’s own Second Piano Concerto. The reason for doing so is to not only study the work on paper (invaluable as that definition of its potential can be); but also to observe the involved musicians – Orchestra of the Swan, conductor David Curtis, and especially pianist Thomas Nickell (right) – as they prepare, firstly, for its performance; then, secondly, deliver the resulting collaborative interpretation live; and, finally, record it.

I know that I am extremely fortunate in having been able to follow this process. That it takes place – as catalogued here – over only a few days is, on one hand, some sort of miracle; but, on the other, completely misleading: as I obviously cannot keep up with each individual, equally-important, contributing member in their own private preparations: for example, the orchestral oboe player repeating a gritty phrase at home, over and over, until satisfied; David’s intense study of the score, analyzing structure, form, and line in minute detail; or even Thomas, setting himself the challenge of ‘conquering’ this challenging work, spending hundreds of hours at the keyboard until the notes flow willingly from his fingertips. Please remember, therefore, that what follows – still a huge amount of hard work for all of those accomplished people now gathered together; and all of it invested in making sure that what you hear and see is as startlingly great (subjectively; emotionally; objectively; technically) as it can be – really is only the tip of a very deep iceberg: one formed from talent, effort, and love.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

That band who so vauntingly swore…

I wrote (almost exactly twenty-four hours ago – although the two days cushioning this period have somehow become concatenated; or even coalesced, commingled…) that…

This is not the chamber OOTS you thought you knew; this is an overwhelming, resonant army of talented and mighty musical soldiers shocking-and-awing, marching to magnificence…

…one of my reasons for saying so not just being the “lot more chairs laid out… than perhaps was usual” consideration, but what had precipitated that augmentation – the orchestra playing outside its normal repertoire (almost as if they were in their away strip on a strangely sloping ground only the home team was supposed to have grokked; but which actually gave the proficient and passionate visitors some preternatural advantage). The conclusion, therefore, being that they should do more such things: maybe a chamber version of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony (not my idea – but this post’s dedicatee’s) or Gurre-Lieder (although I may have had a partial – and temporary – lingual gena intercalation when suggesting this to artistic director David Curtis…)?!

There is a serious point to be made here, though: and that is – whatever the size of the OOTS ‘team’ on any given day; and whatever the scores laid before them – two truths will be self-evident: firstly, that every single player will be continually giving their utmost (an OOTS trademark that surpasses all other such ensembles); secondly, that you will be able to hear every single player doing so – their melodic, harmonic, leading, or supporting, lines of notes – continually. It doesn’t matter if it is a blaring fortississimo final chord, or a passage of finger-to-the-Curtis-lip, hushed pianississimo melancholy: you can guarantee that every single line of the stave dotted with notes at that time will be impeccably balanced and astoundingly audible. Just so.