Where am I? Have my creative juices dried up? Let me reassure you that is not the case! The reason is quite simply summarised in the two pictures. Firstly the Congress, which, being a very ethical human being as the reader will immediately acknowledge, I am attending with religious ferver.
Secondly was the excited anticipation of my repaired Alto Recorder waiting for me at the Hotel Brandies the day of my arrival. In true Germanic style is was indeed handed to me as I checked in. I have been practicing with gay abandon every spare minute.
The opening morning of the conference was excellent value and was clinically relevant at least to me, the afternoon offering less so. I excused myself at lunch and walked to the Museum of Musical Instruments (Musikinstrumenten-Museum) via The Tiergarten.
This is an huge Park in central Berlin. Surely I was dreaming when from the lush tropical forest beside the track I heard the by now familiar tones of a Treble Recorder. It was moreover being played by an expert. I cautiously left the path and as quietly as possible navigated towards the music. There he was : an old man dressed in black and happily playing a baroque piece with trills and ornamentations worthy of any professional. He finished the piece with a flourish. I spontaneously applauded, he laughed with surprise and we chatted, confirming he had being playing since a child. I confessed that I was an old man playing like a child.
Thence to the Museum and its well worth a visit. Harpsichords and pianoforte abound. Invest in the audio guide and you will hear musical examples on the actual instruments.
Finally as my iPhone confirmed i had walked 37km, i went to the nearby Italian Trattoria and had s pizza which the menu boasts are 34 cm tall.
Two weeks ago our swimming group had a Christmas barbecue with some added fun making music. It is a little more than three years ago since I began to play the Recorder. I remember that upon my return from long service leave travelling to Europe, America and finally to Brazil, I decided to venture into the foreign language of Music and to learn an instrument.
I am truly fortunate to have friends who are musically gifted including our swimming coach Kathy and more recently I have become friends with Charles who has a scholarship with the Adelaide symphony orchestra as a cadet oboe player. However I don’t think that I will ever become as proficient or relaxed about playing the Alto Recorder as I am with my swimming!
But to give you some idea of the fun that I’m having below are a couple of video clips, including a rather bright Italian folk song and that perennial well recognised tune, Greensleeves.
Have teamed up with this man to form a Recorder Duo.
We are workshopping a name. Possibly the Golden Horns
An American woman, I would estimate in her early 50’s (although Botulinum is not known as a ‘toxin’ for nothing) enters the hotel gym. I was until then alone, saddled on a cycle machine, with my sheet music on the computer screen, an excellent music stand. Rather than climbing the virtual Pyrenees, I am scaling C major. The America, with rather tight leotards and face to boot, encourages me to continue. I decide that it would be better to attempt a recognisable tune, rather than scales, and launch into ‘Greensleeves’. I finish with a flourish and I do confess with a slight degree of satisfaction as I played it rather well. This was confirmed by the sole member of my captive audience who exclaimed breathlessly “that was beauooooootiful!” Pausing to take a mouthful of Spring Water, she enquired if I was a “professional musician?” No, she was serious! Demurely I said no I was simply learning to keep my brain active. I was on a roll here so I said of course that was “Greensleeves”. Yes she said……. its a wonderful Christmas Carol. Feeling rather Peter Sellarish, I then ventured that it was composed by King Henry V111. Now that you mention it she said, as she picked up speed, I do recall that. He was very talented wasn’t he. This being more of a statement than a question. By now I quickly realised that I could safely return to my scales, the Adagio from the Mozart Clarinet concerto, my signature piece, would fall on deaf ears.