Saturday, October 15, 2005

Memory lane

A post at Sequenza 21 about Palestrina takes me back twenty years to heady (and chillier than now) days at Cambridge University, where all music students had to learn to write 16th-century counterpoint. It was rather like filling in a crossword puzzle. I suppose it kept us out of all-night parties, dangerous drugs and, worst of all in the faculty's eyes, daring to practise our musical instruments. I'm not certain what other useful function it fulfilled, but I do have a vague fondness for the calmness and beauty of Palestrina as a result. Two LPs of it found their way into my then-modest collection and I used to play them frequently in an attempt to immerse myself in the ancient aesthetic we were attempting to recreate. The trouble was that the music is so calm and so beautiful that it's also extremely soothing. I don't remember ever hearing either album to the end - I always fell sound asleep about half way through...

If you're new to the wonders of Palestrina, try this CD.

Meanwhile, to wake you up, here are a few responses to Google searches that have led to some readers finding this blog:

The Octobass is huge and magnificent and lives in the Musical Instrument Museum in the Cite de la Musique in Paris.

I don't think Nikolai Znaider is married, but I may be wrong.

I don't know who Leif Ove Andsnes's girlfriend is.

Marc-Anthony Turnage is NOT 'awful'. He's a great guy and writes fantastic music.