A Classical turn

I can’t believe its over a week since I have blogged. H’s arrival made routines change and in the last few days man-flu has got me which has made me a little low and tired. But I actually went out to a classical recital last night, something I booked weeks ago when I thought I should do more cultural things whilst I am here.

For those who might know it was a concert of Brahms and Stravinsky featuring the piano (Amy SZE) and violin (Benedict Cruft). Brahms’s Sonata in A Major opus 100 started the evening and this was ok though I thought the balance between the two instruments was not quite there – still what do I know!! The second piece was Stravinksy – Duo concertante for violin and piano and featured those lovely strained and discordant sounds that I believe he does quite often in his music. This was played altogether better and the piano, an instrument I much prefer to the violin, came to the fore more and inserted itself appropriately. I enjoyed that one quite a lot.

Amy Sze
Benedict Cruft


At the intermission I looked around at the audience and noted that a good 40 % were very young ranging from 5 – 15 years old. This surprised me for a concert of this nature but maybe suggests a greater focus on classical music in HK. Whatever they were remarkably w ell behaved and not a sound was heard during any of the pieces.

The final piece was Brahms again and this time Sonata in G Major opus 78. I really enjoyed this as it gave full bent to the sounds of both instruments and was a very melodic and enjoyable piece.

I am no expert and it may have been crap for all I know but I did enjoy it and it confirmed for me that listening to the piano is an enjoyment I have whatever the style of music. I wish I could have progressed to a higher standard myself when younger and kept it going as sadly my attempts on the piano are now limited to Fur Elise and Little White Bull!! (Don’t ask).

So I am glad I went and enjoyed the sort of evening I engage in all too rarely for sake of finding the time and the energy at home in the UK to do these things.

So strange as it feels in this sunshine and warmth (though it is raining today and down to around 14 degrees) christmas is creeping nearer. Although the commercialisation of christmas is just as evident here, if not more so, and there is plenty of irritating mood music playing christmas ditties I have to say it is hard to feel christmas is coming. None of the usual activities – sending cards; buying presents; ordering the turkey; office parties; – are there for me and H.

Xmas Tree in the apartment

 We have a tiny christmas tree in the apartment just for show but at the moment I think Christmas day will feel a little odd. H and I have decided to cook a shared meal together of tapas so we can cook a range of fare which will satisfy our diverse eating habits. So no turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. I have to confess that I will miss that part and for the first time ever I will be out of the UK and away from family, H apart of course.

Christmas has been an important time for me in years gone by. I was released from hospital for christmas day only whilst undergoing radiotherapy for cancer in 1982 and enjoyed a turkey sandwich that year!! My marriage dissolved before my eyes just 14 days before Xmas in 1985 and vegetarian tagilatelli is one meal not on the agenda since then. Christmas has been a focal point to be with my kids and many happy years followed those low points in the 1980s. H has been away 2 years when she was in Australia and then in New Zealand but I have always been with J until this year. So I guess it will just be different. First christmas out of UK; first christmas in the warm; first christmas day when the shops are all open; first christmas day without Joe, but not the first one where a bottle or two of red wine will be enjoyed and I hope some good food.

So I have one main piece of work to finish before Christmas and should do that after Monday next week, then I can relax for 10 days and just unwind. I am on the third book of the trilogy by Larsson so when next I blog it will be to talk about that, less culturally demanding but one heck of a read.

2 thoughts on “A Classical turn

  1. Good to read that all going well Paul. I agree totally in your previous blog re ‘Trespass’ – I thought it was very well crafted, very enjoyable and should have been on the Booker shortlist. I have just finished a mighty social history tome by David Kynaston called ‘Family Britain’. I had read his previous work ‘Austerity Britain’, which was about the immediate post-war period, 1945-51. Family Britain was about 1951-57. They are interesting books as he uses a lot of material from people’s diaries and social surveys done at the time – quite dense some of it but, as 1951 was when I was born, they do remind me of my childhood and what life was like for my parents at that time. It is salutary to read about the shortages, the gradual growth of black & white TV, the racism etc.

    Anyway your acquisition of Stieg Larsson prompted me to have a look at the first one – Gill has read & got all three. Just finished the ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ – as you say very well crafted, easy reading, most enjoyable – thanks for the prompt!

    Enjoy a different Xmas in HK – shame about Mitchell Johnson suddenly finding his rhythm but a good battle in propect to the end of the series I suspect.


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