Κυριακή, Νοεμβρίου 30

Soundtrack: "Gospodi Vozzvakh Tebe" "Lord I have cried unto Thee", Vespers verses in Tone 8, Galician Chant, sung by the choir of St Elias Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, Brampton, Ontario.

A priest said that the invention of the refrigerator may have had an negative impact on Christian charity - in the days when food could not keep, we would more likely have thougth to give leftovers away to those who had no food. These days we just plonk it back into the fridge for the next day.

An interesting thought.

Soundtrack: "Air pour Les Sauvages" from Jean-Philippe Rameau's opera Les Indes Galantes, played by the Orchestra of the 18th Century,dir. Frans Brüggen. Meant as a bit of music for a dance of the "savages" in Rameau's early 1700s opera, this tune became quite popular in French Louisiana, and apparently was the only bit of white music that caught on with the natives, and they played it in their own gatherings and danced to it. Rameau apparently was immensely pleased when he heard of it.

Ok, so the singers for the concert aren't quite up to scratch, so we've decided to drop the chorus from the concert. That's a weight off my mind really, I've been stressing myself out these past few weeks trying to locate singers at short notice, not to mention teaching people their parts. I've not been doing anything other than music these past few days, not good. Dom's girlfriend Linda taught me some yoga relaxation exercises, may help my back and arm problems.

I think I'll spend Sunday away from all work on music - I won't even answer music-related telephone calls. I need some rest and relaxation. I think I'll go have my feet massaged. Ah, the very thought of it fills my mind with joy.

Spent the evening at Prof's place, rehearsing more music for the concert - just with him, the harpsichord girl and the Japanese chap who plays Viola da Gamba. Lovely music making, and normally I'd have been very happy to do it, but having to call and lead a rehearsal at this particular point in time was the last thing I needed to do.

Thank goodness Glen called me at about ten and asked me out for a film. He picked me up and we watched Le Papillon, a charming French film. A perfect end to a really crummy day. Amazingly enough, as the film began, the three teenaged boys next to us (2 malays and a beng) saw the opening titles and went "ha, this film not Ingrish one ah?" Glen and I tried very hard not to laugh.

Think I'll soak my feet now.

Σάββατο, Νοεμβρίου 29

Soundtrack: "Bless the Lord O my soul", Russian Greek-chant harmonised by Katalsky, performed by the Ural Choir.

Hurrah, today's tenor was a joy to work with. Very rewarding, and of course, it helps he's cute.

Arm still smarts a little, but it doesn't hurt as bad as yesterday or this morning, so I think I may be able to rest in the arms of Morpheus without the usual alcoholic stupor.

Currently, one of my pet amusements is collecting examples of Singaporean stupidity and cultural illiteracy. In recent memory, two anecdotes stand out as shining examples.

Just the other day I walked past a motorcycle shop, and I heard a man saying "wah, Yamaha got make music instrument one ah?".

Then there was the twit who upon overhearing that we Orthodox put icons in our churches, light candles, kiss them, prostrate ourselves and pray before them... actually asked "so you all like kiss the Internet Explorer icon or what ah?"

Ye Gods, give me strength.

Παρασκευή, Νοεμβρίου 28

Soundtrack: "Love U More" by Sunscream. Interesting... it doesn't sound like it came out in 1992. A fascinating track, it's of a genre I don't usually like but I can see why it makes good clubbing music.

Last night's attempt to teach one of the altos her part didn't go too well, she's a dear dear friend and I love her to bits, but she has so many problems pitching that I felt we had to let her go. I'm getting really stressed over this coming concert, perfectionist that I am. I know we'll be fine if we're one alto short, 7 is still workable, but I'd still really really like an octet. I get so worked up about these things, and I know I shouldn't.

Dominic, my music mentor of sorts, made me feel better when he thanked me for all the work I'm doing for the concert. He also introduced me to that song "Love U More", good stuff. I'm really quite grateful to Dom, who pushes me musically - otherwise I'd never improve. Got home last night really late, went straight to bed. Couldn't sleep, my right arm was in pain. Felt like the ligaments and tendons from the fingertips of the last three fingers stretching down to the elbow were on fire. Had a double Pernod to help me sleep.

Best of all, this morning I woke up with a ridiculous pain in my back and hip. The back pain, I suspect, is due to a bed that's too soft, even though the bed is harder than most. The hip pain, I know is due to that hunting injury I sustained 2 years ago in England when I fell off a horse at full gallop. My big brother Anthony today at lunch tells me the arm pain may be carpal tunnel syndrome. Not a pleasant thought, that.

Watched Talkingcock the Movie today. Quite quite funny.

Going out to teach a tenor his part this evening. Gods help us, I'll scream if this one's as tone-deaf as the alto last night.

Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 27

Soundtrack: "Chunari Chunari", a great bit of hindi pop from the film Monsoon Wedding.

One learns something new everyday, often several new things everyday. "Influenza" is actually derived from a Venetian term "La Influenza di Stelle", or "the influence of the stars". Next, "Malaria" is derived from the Italian "Mal'aria" or "bad air", from the old belief that it was caused by the bad air of the marshes.

Was at rehearsal last night. Stuff for the December concerts is coming along nicely. Again I have to recommend The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason, a brilliant piece of writing.

Currently, I'm working on the Basso Continuo part of a movement from a Vivaldi violin concerto (from L'estro Armonico)... and reading Kings of Albion by Julian Rathbone.

Τρίτη, Νοεμβρίου 25

Now let's try some Cyrillic:

+ Слава Отцу и Сыну и Святому Духу, и ныне и присно и во веки веком. Аминь.

Господи Исусе Христе, помилуй нас.

Под твою милость прибегаем, Богородице Дево. Моления наша не презри в скорбех, но от бед избави нас, едина чистая и благословенная.
+ Пресвятая Богородице, спаси нас.

Soundtrack: "Great Doxology" - Greek Byzantine Chant by the Monks of Simonopetra Monastery, Mt Athos, Greece.

Δόξα σοι ο Θεός ημών, δόξα σοι. - let's see if the Greek turns out fine.

Hurrah! In case you're wondering how to view the Greek, use Unicode encoding for the page.

Soundtrack: "Vespertine" by Björk

Υπεραγια Θεοτοκε σωισον ημας! Sic credo, sic spero. So I believe. So I hope.

Soundtrack: "Tattoo It On Me" by Paul Lekakis.

I can't help it. I'm a pedant. Here I am, listening to one of the few 1980s pop stars whose work I actually know - Paul Lekakis, and getting annoyed by his lyrics. Not by the inaneness that marks pop lyrics, but by a line in his "Tattoo it on me" which goes "... while the temperature rises up".

Surely "rises up" is an oxymoron? I know I ought not be bothered by it, but every single time I hear the line, I cringe.

Just as when I hear someone go "horse-riding". "Riding" is, by default, on a horse. Only when riding other things/animals does one specify what is being ridden. Even worse is when someone says "horseback-riding". What other part of the horse is there to ride? I have yet to hear of anyone riding the head of a horse.

In the beginning was the Word. So here's a word:

OI!