Sunday, March 22, 2020

5pm daily: 'Ghost Variations' readings from my study

I'm on a technology high-rate learning curve here in the bunker.

Yesterday I created a Youtube channel and uploaded some videos to it >wow, I can do this?!<. To try and have something that requires me to focus intensely - because that's the most difficult thing, it seems - I am reading Ghost Variations out from my study in bleeding chunks of about 15 mins a go and "broadcasting" it on my channel every day at 5pm.

Here is the channel and you can, naturally, subscribe to it (no charge) if you wish to.

And here is episode 1. A few technical glitches and I do not sound like Vanessa Redgrave (yet), but I hope you enjoy it. Episode 2 follows tonight at the same time.

Today my task is to download and learn to use Zoom so that I can have coffee morning, tea afternoons or something stronger not necessarily much later with my "quartet". We have already made ourselves a WhatsApp group and suddenly we're in daily touch sharing crazy memes that make us laugh. I recommend this, though probably everyone else tried it sooner than I did.

I don't know about you, but I have no appetite, either physically or mentally, right now. Everything is taken up with shock, and the bit that isn't shock is fright. I am trying, honest to goodness, to be positive, to think "there is light at the end of the tunnel" and "this is an opportunity to learn German/learn the 'Hammerklavier'/spend time with Tom and the cats/do some actual gardening for once".

But meanwhile my May concerts have gone, the June concert has gone, the Garsington youth opera with John Barber - which is going to be wonderful - will have to be postponed and I have no idea whether I'll be able to make it to Australia. As for programme notes, if there are no concerts, they're not needed. I am trying to convince myself that nothing bad can happen to Immortal, which is dependent on people sitting at desks and pressing buttons, and that by autumn we have got to be back on our feet, because if we're not, what then? But the fear, the uncertainty, the renewal of sheer disbelief every time you wake up in the night, the anxiety that the illness may take people you love, all this on its own is actually enough to make you ill. The task now is to get a grip and not let it do that.

So. Come on, Ludwig, let's seize fate by the throat again. Please. NOW.

Here is András Schiff's lecture about the F sharp major Sonata Op. 78, dedicated to Therese von Brunsvik, from whose point of view Immortal is written. Beethoven himself rated this piece much higher than the 'Moonlight' Sonata. Enjoy.