You probably haven’t encountered Margaret and Paul. They are two residents of a local nursing home, and occasionally I can overhear their conversations through my window. Here they discuss current affairs.
(I call this ‘branching out’, but I freely concede that others will consider it the twisted brainwrong of a one-off man-mental.)
I have discovered the worst harpsichord in Britain. Well, the worst I’ve had the opportunity to play so far. I was spoiled as an undergraduate to have access to a Rubio (a copy, apparently, of Blanchet’s 1733 Chateau de Thoiry harpsichord). This one is not in quite the same league.
Here is a recording of me playing Bach’s sublime G minor Sinfonia, BWV 797, on my piano.
And the same piece on the harpsichord.
I won’t name the owner or location of this instrument, for reasons of respect, though perhaps someone will recognise it. One ought to feel some pity that a presumably once playable instrument now sounds like something John Cage knocked together, but I have a suspicion that this harpsichord was never of the first rank. It is sad that it has been so neglected, but I’m sure I’m not alone in finding beauty even in out-of-tuneness.
On Saturday afternoon I’m playing some lounge piano-type music in Christ Church, Frome as part of this charity gig for the Horn of Africa. I’m not sure where the Horn of Africa is exactly, but it’s south of Somerset anyway. Presumably it’s a bit that sticks out.
If you happen to be in the area, please come along (I’m also playing some criminally unknown Inghelbrecht piano duets just before at 3.30pm and singing Britten and Vaughan Williams at 8.00pm). If you should happen to be interested yet indisposed, here’s what I’m intending to play.
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered George Gershwin
The Man I Love
‘The Half of It, Dearie’ Blues
Love Walked In
And here’s a recording of it. Apologies for my various splashes. I think some of them were probably intended. Bits of songs 3 and 5 are shamelessly stolen from Roger Vignoles’ accompaniments on one of his cabaret CDs with Sarah Walker. He’s just a master at this kind of thing.