fĂȘte de la musique



Happily, I have seen the last of Mulhouse and happily too, the second performance of Les Boreades was electrifying.

I had entered the pit straight off 6 sweaty tgv hours - a one day visit home to give a bit of support to my husband which, though exhausting, was restorative to both our hearts. However, it had left me little time to warm up. Whilst absent-mindedly walking my hand up and down the cello in thirds to avoid injury during the lightening scales of the Overture, I gathered from our section leader that he was yearning for home. With the memory of Julian's hand warming mine as much as scales ever could, I felt that, after almost three weeks away from his wife and one year old son, he had had a right to withdraw into himself a little on the Saturday. His spirit was returned to us however last night and the whole orchestra welcomed it. His continuo playing was a delight: He cradled the singers' recitatives in a silk woven cloth; he wound them in weeping gut; he gave a ripping kick to support their anger, and when Borée tenderly declares his love for Alfiz, he was accompanied with an improvised pizzicato chord which spread like the de-petalling of a lotus. All this colouration will have gone unnoticed , consciously at least, by the singers and the audience. Like the pure blue of the ocean or the green of the grass, it is not a thing to be praised and that is its beauty.

After the performance I trailed, cello shell on my back, dreamily through the park now known (after a local warning to one of our female colleagues) as the 'parc des mauvais hommes'. Suddenly I heard our flutes wafting across the treetops and stumbled upon the huge video projection Thursday's 'Les Boreades'. It was the National Fête de la Musique.

Beer and dogs were being sold from a tent and the riff-raff of Mulhouse sauntered across the tenor's huge projected larynx, accompanying his imploring aria with their munching and gulping. A group of break-dancers floated their mechanical moon-dance right in front of the on screen ballet, their super-imposed movements strangely enhancing the choreography. The orchestra, the only people riveted it seemed, grouped together under the plane trees one by one to see the performance for the first time, and to have a proper bop at last to the gavottes.

It seems I have been accepted momentarily in to this clan as, whilst painting Julian's gallery walls in preparation for his vernissage tomorrow, I received a call from the orchestra asking me for more work: The two short periods would fill up the two remaining holes I have to be home this summer and would render me an absent wife. Also, a round trip to New York which lasts twenty four hours and has a concert at Lincoln Center stuffed in its middle no longer sounds glamorous to me. Julian encouraged me to accept the opportunity. However, on hearing his voice in the train today I feel a belt of sadness tighten around me. Julian is currently stressed beyond belief trying to cobble together tomorrow's show; his printer was not delivered as promised so he has had to buy an inferior one which cannot produce the prints he had hoped to offer for sale, he has a mountain of labels to make, canvasses to price, small paintings to post, a business to continue, a bar tender to find and a lost landscape to track down .....all this on top of being a taxi driver for his wayward wife. I want to be there to do runs to the post office, to make the calls he hates making, to prepare healthy salads and to smooth his brow. I am not there and I am aware that I am failing him; failing us. Rameau is all very meaningful and sexy to me, but ultimately Julian is more so.

London buses and work may come in droves after a long lonely wait, but a Julian comes once in a life time.


Too right.

Mulhouse actually sounds like a pretty groovy place at the moment with those new designer HLMs. Not as groovy as Provence of course but they're trying.

hi lesley, didn't see the new hlms but imagine they may be overlooking the water where our concert hall was...a haven it seems except when you try to walk down the road with a cello and get mowed down by shrieking mocking mobsters....that them?

Leave a comment