Saturday, July 01, 2006

Morning Coffee

In my dressing gown with the curtains shut, pretending I am hibernating.

For some reason I decided that the best music to listen to this morning was Beethoven's Violin Concerto. I really love the recording I have, with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. It is somehow firm with a strong foundation, yet delicate without being wishy-washy. A few months ago, while listening to this recording, I began to notice the timpani, and the way they interact with the rest of the orchestra in this piece. Back in 1806, when this work was written, percussion instruments were still very much special effect instruments, and were often silent for much of the time, reserving their impact for moments of glory and drama. This piece, though, actually starts with a bar of solo timpani, which must have been quite bizzare for audiences at the first performance. Once I really started to listen to the timps I realised that they really underpin the whole first movement, with their little four-note, "bup-bup-bup-bah" motive. Who would have thunk that 20 minutes of music could grow out of four repeated notes?

So that is what I am listening to as I sit here in my slippers with my feet toasy warm drinking my coffee that is rapidly getting colder and less appetising.

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