Friday, 7 June 2013

Death and the Maiden, or possibly The Lady and the Sneeze

I am suddenly full of cold and sneezing for Britain ! I have taught so many folk in the past two weeks who were really full of 'the cold', so I suppose it was inevitable that in the end I would succumb to the lurgy !

I feel fine, just heady and sneezy.

Exams are looming in a couple of weeks, I am adjudicating at Horsham Festival, and taking my pupils to Saltburn Festival, all before June 24th (exam day), so lots to fit in in the next 14 days, and that's not including Pirates rehearsals and working out the blocking and choreography for the big chorus 'When the Foeman bears his Steel' for Tuesdays practise.........seems like an enormously large amount to squeeze into a short space of time !

The festival means I am teaching some gorgeous repertoire. Putting together a recital programme of scrummy music is one of my favourite elements of the job, and I have three of them simmering on the musical stove ! L's three pieces are just beautiful, he starts with a very bass baritone Where'ere you Walk complete with a raft of dazzling decorations in the return. This Handel aria is successful at every level, whether beginner, intermediate or Conservetoire, 13 years old or 60 years old, and every age I between ! He finishes with one of the glorious Songs of Travel by Vaughan Williams, a cycle which made me so frustrated that it was just not a possibility for a female voice. We have chosen Bright is the Ring of Words as the finale. Sandwiched between the two outer layers if the truly moving Death and the Maiden by Schubert. I have rarely heard L sing with such utter commitment and strength of feeling. Even playing the accompaniment gives me my goosebump emotion gauge. It was so tender and small, and yet so expansive and weighty, all at the same time.

It is one of the moments during the next frenetic couple of weeks which I am so looking forward to, and those moments are when time seems to stand still, and are fuel for life.

English Translation

The Maiden:

Pass me by! Oh, pass me by!

Go, fierce man of bones!

I am still young! Go, rather,

And do not touch me.

And do not touch me.


Give me your hand, you beautiful and tender form!

I am a friend, and come not to punish.

Be of good cheer! I am not fierce,

Softly shall you sleep in my arms!

PS. all that waxing lyrical, and I sit here with the reddest of noses, and 'achoo-ing all over the kitchen! Not a pretty sight..........


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