Sunday 4 November 2018

Sunday 4th November -Time Travel

Today's Year of Wonder piece of music is the slow movement of Grieg's Piano Concerto. This is Rubenstein playing.
Geirangerfjord, Norway

Whenever I hear this concerto, or the Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, or the Rachmaninov C# minor prelude, I am straight back in the study bedroom at boarding school, up in the attic. A funny little garret room of straight angles, high above the dilapidated old-fashioned conservatory, overlooking a magnificent horse chestnut tree.

I had a cassette tape of these three pieces, played by - oh dear, maybe the name will come to me in the next few days - and I used to listen to it over, and over again.

Sunday was always a weird day at school - church (in school uniform including 'Sunday coats and berets', and then hours of boredom. No music to be played before 4pm, letters home to be on the hall table by 3pm, and everyone had to go and lie down on their beds and rest after lunch. I assume the last rule was to allow the housemistress an hour's peace, but we resented it. My friend and I used to escape the stifling atmosphere by visiting an old lady in the almshouses. She used to give us tea and cake (resurrected from her freezer every week, and re-interred when we left) and we would chat and watch her budgerigar flying around the room. I can remember his name - Banjo.

Best to concentrate on memories like the horse chestnut tree and the distant view across the city to the Downs, and discovering authors like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte on my own, rather than as 'set books' in English lessons!

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