as good as it gets


Warming up before the concert in Grenoble I found myself back-stage on a nice padded chair.

'Chair'. Nice word. Evocative in french of the flesh it supports, or allows to spill over it. Feeling very comfortable, the 'chair' of my bottom buzzing with my bass line, I wondered (very) aloud to the stage hand why we could not have these comfy chairs on stage as opposed to the faux Provencal wooden slatted ones.

"The maestro has forbidden them" he said.

I replied " J'ai des trous dans mon cu à cause de ces chaises" and turned swiftly on my angry heel only to bump straight into the maestro himself.

Not a great start to my career with the Musiciens du Louvre.

I must have been forgiven. The concert was thrilling, improvisatory and daring. All I did was remember to play the pearly entrance of the andante on an exhalation and the rest was like riding on white water rapids, boating by moonshine on a still lake, being enveloped in the warm arms of the archetypal Father. His electricity did not make him forget his generosity on stage and when the horn player played a bum note he winked as if to say: "Don't fret, it's gone, let's go" and when the flute player started her exquisite solo, he welcomed her into the ring with a radiant smile and she bloomed. I was reminded of a great jazzer with whom I once did a session who, just as I was about to start a very hairy solo, opened his arms wide, bent at the knees and said "Sing it out, baby!"

The finale of the posthorn serenade peaked with the casquetted trumpeter riding in on a yellow 'La Poste' bicycle playing his rustic melody and distributing mail to the maestro and the punters. The joy in the hall full to bursting and in my heart was explosive.

This year I have, after eleven years, decided to take a sabbatical from the three month Glyndebourne tour - a decision mostly to do with needing to spend some time with my husband. I will see my first Provencal autumn, EVER, and I will not have to go to Woking or Milton Keynes. In it's place I have already been asked to do recordings of Mozart symphonies with The Maestro in October. If this is what a 'spirit of prosperity' generates - with both Julian and I hardly able to contain our creative excitement - I recommend it!

Julian picked me up at Avignon TGV station and I took him for lunch at our favourite brasserie, 'La Mère Germaine' in Chateauneuf du Pape. As we were walking along a path in between new vines, the summer breeze making my light cotton skirt flap, he slid his hand beneath the back of my waistband and said:

"Welcome Home...... and how nice to have something warm that's not furry."

As good as it gets?


I breathed a happy little sigh at the end of this post, Ruth. Your imagery about playing in the orchestra is lovely.



Well, I found your site a few minutes ago and have already purchased one of your husband's postcard-sized paintings. His artwork just blows me away. Bought a small piece for my man for Father's Day. I'm over the moon and am going to forward this site on to friends.

Ruth,I am glad to hear you won't be going on the three month tour, it sounds like the right choice. And, that means we'll get to hear more about France in the summer! Sometimes a bold change like that does open the door for prosperity, especially when doing it for the right reasons.

nana lil - hope you were the one who got lucky. that one sold twice in the middle of the night! don't worry if not, they keep on coming! zulemee it's the autumn tour i am not doing so this summer, if i can get on line you will still be hearing about salzburg (alot - 2 months) and bremen and strasbourg. sorry!

Enjoy your sabbatical and spending time with your husband. You deserve it! I can't believe the maestro has a policy about comfortable chairs! What could be the justification?

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