Monday, 28 January 2013

A-Z of Music - M

hmmmm......seem to have gotten way behind with this, but anyhow - here we go with M.

It seems that M stands for marvelous. There are just so many famous composers whose names begin with M - like Mozart, Mendelssohn, Mahler et al. But we had one of the top names last time, so this time I thought I'd go with a biggish name. Modest Mussorgsky. History doesn't record whether he was Modest by name and modest by nature though.
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky 1839 – 1881 was a Russian composer, one of the group known as "The Five". He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music.
Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other nationalist themes.
You may well know some of his music, even if you don't realise it. Probably his most famous works are 'A Night On A Bald Mountain' and 'Pictures At An Exhibition'

Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite in ten movements composed for piano in 1874. The suite is Mussorgsky's most famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists, but it is best known in its' orchestral arrangement by Maurice Ravel.

Here are 3 movements played by Lazar Berman

Now, on a lighter note......down in deepest darkest Cornwall, is a tiny fishing village called Mousehole. And Mousehole has a wonderful male voice choir. They're so good, they're the only non-Welsh choir to have been invited to perform at the Welsh National Eisteddfod.

Unfortunately, there's not much on YouTube, but anyway - enjoy them performing actually on the Harbour at Mousehole, complete with screaming seagulls

Saturday, 26 January 2013

So.... this is 2013.....

It hasn't started too well. The CBF1000 has developed an electrical fault and won't start, and the little Hornet is feeling very neglected because I haven't ridden it so far this year.

However, what have I got planned so far?

Well, first thing up will be the Annual MayDay extravaganza at Hastings. Now that's a day I really love. If the weather's good, there'll be 20,000+ bikes there - a chance to see what everyone has been working on over the long, cold, Winter months. We always go with two of our best friends, and inevitably end up going for a meal at the Woolpack, in the middle of Romney Marsh.
Don't want to be too late getting home this year though, because the very next day, I leave on the Hornet for Derbyshire for a few days. I've booked myself into a nice pub in a tiny village well out of the way, and hopefully the weather will be nice enough to do some serious exploring of the High Peaks and the moors.

June will see the two of us heading North. We're having a few days in the Lake District - with a diversion for me to Samye Ling for a bit of soul cleansing, and then on to Harrogate for a few days playing in the Dales, and on the North Yorks Moors.

July? We're off for an extra long weekend in Cornwall. We'll be staying in Bodmin, as it's more or less central, and will give us access to the whole of Cornwall.

Both of those trips will be done on the CBF1000, with him on the XRunner.

Then, end of August, I will make my annual pilgrimage to North Wales, staying, as always, with Chris at her pub in Knucklas. Another one for the Hornet. I really can't get enough of the Welsh roads and scenery. Just never tire of being there. And, of course, one of Sue's delicious curries will be partaken of.

Then, September, first the Ace Caff Brighton Bash, and then the Steelers finally come to Wembley! At long last I'll get to see the team I've supported for nearly 30 years, in the flesh. And I've got a new team top to wear, courtesy of Rene and Brooke, my Christmas present from them. This will be followed by another trip to Wembley in October for the 49ers match - that's Brooke's team.

Interspersed with these trips, will be Hornet's Nest events - which I really must try to get to this year. Throw in one or two bead fairs and the such, and you can see I'm going to be really busy this year.

Talking of Ren and Brookie, it doesn't seem possible they've been married almost a year! I envy them the trip they're doing for their anniversary. They're flying out to Vienna, then back packing up through Salzburg, Bratislava and other places, to Berlin and flying home from there.

I say I envy them, but of course, I would if I could do it by bike. There's no way I'd walk that kind of distance!

I wish you well with whatever plans you have for this year. Here's hoping we finally get some decent weather.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Theatre times two....

I've been fortunate in having the chance to go to the theatre in London either side of Christmas, and the two shows could not have been more different.

Late last year, we took ourselves off to the Savoy Theatre to see Soul Sister, the early days of Tina Turner and her disastrous relationship with Ike. I quite like the Savoy. It.s small and intimate, if a little formal. But it does have a wonderful Art Deco interior.

Oh sorry, getting sidetracked - the play. Not really my cup of tea, but the Other Half is a keen Tina Turner fan, and I suspect this is a show that will only appeal to other Tina fans. Her rise to fame and violent relationship with Ike Turner have been well documented, and this show didn't have anything new to say.

That doesn't mean it's a bad show - far from it. The band are really, really good, and Emi Wokoma, who plays the lead, really is excellent. She has Tina's movements and idiosyncrasies down to a T, and the voice almost. If you're a fan of the music, you will really enjoy the performance. However, for me, there wasn't enough of a story to keep me enthralled.

4/5 if you're a Tina fan, 3/5 if you're not.

Now, Saturday night, we went to the New London Theatre to see Warhorse.

What a fantastic experience! It tells the story of a boy and his horse in the context of the Battle of the Somme and World War I, and if you ever want to see an entire audience with tears rolling down their cheeks, then I beg you to go and see this play.
Mind, the tears are often of laughter, as well as sorrow and horror.

The animals are represented by mechanical puppets, and although you can see the puppeteers at all times, within seconds you're oblivious to them. The story and the actions of the puppets are unbelievably good. From the look of indignation on the face of the goose, when the wife slams the door in its' beak, to the appalling tragedies of the battlefield, the show is non-stop, gripping, enthrallment.

If you saw the film, and didn't care much for it, go to see the stage show. It's a whole different stable of horses. I defy you not to be moved by it.

The end of the show received a standing ovation, and never was one more richly deserved.

A stonking 6 out of 5

YES! It was THAT good.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Five Golden Rules

1. To protect life and refrain from killing.

2. To respect other's property and refrain from stealing.

3. To speak the truth and refrain from lying.

4. To embrace health and refrain from intoxicants.

5. To respect others and refrain from sexual misconduct.

I aim to be a better person this year.

Om Mani Padme Hum