Monday, 13 August 2012

Bach, Elgar and young talent

Saturday 11am

We disembarked around 15 minutes later than stated, but in fairness to cruise companies, the delays are a great deal less than when using airlines, so we were collecting our vast amount of luggage, enough to give a nervous Captain a small mental breakdown, by 10.30 and were all packed into our kind chauffeur's car by 11am. It was like a human jigsaw puzzle inside the vehicle, we were neatly fitted around cases and bags with only spare space for an anorexic field mouse in an odd corner of the boot.

The weather was damningly hot again ! Is there some climate god who knows exactly when I have to travel, rubs his hands together, and says to himself ' something over 28 degrees I think, let's make the woman suffer' !

It got a little cooler as I traversed the M1, and by the time I arrived in Durham it was a balmy and pleasant evening of the sort we get in Paradise about 3 times a year, and which we relish with much love.

I was taken very graciously to my room in St John's College, by a young and charming tenor lay clerk from the Cathedral, and after a cup of tea fell into a comfortable bed and was out like a light, as we say in Yorkshire, to sleep the sleep of the dead.

I managed to arise at a reasonable this morning and I feel almost human. My brain seems intact and my body seems, as far as I can tell, to be ticking over quite normally, let's hope my Masterclassing neurones are firing at their best!

Saturday 9pm

What talented youngsters I have heard. The two girls whom I taught before
lunch were very responsive and had beautiful mezzo voices. I was astonished at the fact that they, and many of the other talented singers had not had lessons for some time, and some not at all. They produced lovely repertoire, and showed a remarkable musicianship in their performances. It is always tricky when teaching a 'one off', so to speak. Singing is a long drawn out process, with slow and steady progress. Quite how much it is possible to take in when all one is allotted is 30 minutes? Perhaps the value is to give positive imput and maybe inspire the singer to go home and find a good teacher? I hope so !

The masterclass seemed to go well. All the singers were 'obliged ' to attend, so in my usual way I involved lots of the audience, which seemed to go down well ! I must say though, a young lady of vast potential sang a Bach aria as if she were a dignified professional. It was so technical, so legato and such fine tuning, quite apart from her natural vocal quality. Only one thing was missing, and that was joy! As soon as I asked her to give the aria to the audience and tell them about the sheer joy and rapture of this particular aria, it lifted to an even higher plane.

I enjoyed a few moments of quiet tea in the gorgeous medieval lanes of Durham after finishing, and languished peacefully in the history and grace of this smallest of cities.

Bed was in good time, as I knew I had another long drive home the next day, so -

Another job happily ticked off my list..........pleasing sigh !

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