Huge, huge thanks to everyone who wrote in with advice about the laptop computer. My first choice is indeed 12" Mac Powerbook. I spent a happy afternoon the other day tapping away on keyboards in Tottenham Court Road and it was by far the best in terms of keyboard comfort, carry-around weight and ease of use. BUT...the other day I went back to try to buy one for real and found that there was not a 12" Powerbook in stock anywhere in central London! I'm obviously not the only person who wants one...Since then I've reassessed the situation and worked out that as I'm not likely to be going away for any length of time until September (ouch!), there's really no urgency about it after all. Hmmm...
I should really have been in the Royal Festival Hall listening to Mahler 6 right now, but the Tomcat has injured his back pulling the bag out of the kitchen bin (I kid you not) and has had to take some time off work. Bad backs are a nightmare, as I know only too well from my experience last May, and there's no way on earth I'm going to let him sit in one spot with fiddle at the ready for 6 hours' rehearsal a day in his current state.
More alarming is that I'm not so sorry not to be at this concert. Mahler 6 is Tom's favourite of Big Gustav's output, but it's one of those symphonies that leaves me thinking, 'Come on, Gus, go see Freud and stop inflicting all this angst on your poor old listeners...' And friends in the band tell us that the Maestro (or is it Madame Piano Soloist?) insists they play the Mozart piano concerto with no vibrato. Not even on the long notes, as is recommended by Leopold, if someone had but bothered looking.
How come Leopold provides exercises for practising what we today call vibrato, several years before Wolfgang was born, and gives ample indication that the fiddlers around him were using FAR TOO MUCH WOBBLE HABITUALLY, and conductors still come along bright eyed and bushy tailed telling orchestras to use NONE? Nine times out of ten, it sounds frightful. What I want to know is, how many of them have so much as glanced at this text, let alone dared to form their own interpretations of it based on facts rather than hearsay?!?!? To judge from the squeaks and moans being emitted by some of today's highest profile musicians, not a great many.