Sunday, March 15, 2015


Apologies for the drop-off in posts (& I was doing so well since the New Year ...) but I had warned that this week was going to be busy. Bar one track, I have listened again to the Orals & made a few adjustments here & there to the points. First impressions, however, are more or less accurate. Although, as I have always maintained at conferences, the moment you listen to a recording the whole nature of the communicative 'event' alters.

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The Clarkson farce/ fracas continues to smear itself across the media landscape. Wouldn't anyone with any decency just resign?

& here's another thing: it seems that media 'star' X can strike a contract with the BBC in which all the financial benefits accrue to their production company. However, if they step out of line & the programme is shelved it falls to the BBC to compensate buyers of the programme. Shouldn't there be something more like the Lloyds Names agreement - yes, you get the fat yearly payments but only on the understanding of the need to fork out as & when a major accident occurs. By this logic shouldn't Clarkson take at least some of the financial responsibility for the pulling of Top Gear? (Or am I so 'out of touch' with current thinking? A bit like sell-offs of public assets - if they don't reach a high enough price, the government will compensate the share buyers. Makes sense???)

(Enough Clarkson, Ed.)

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Thursdays there's a most enjoyable lunchtime event - In The Groove - where an invited member of staff, student, or parent gets to play their selection of vinyl records. This week it fell to the music teacher who played us the last two movements of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. As he explained, the decision to play the last two sections was deliberate since so many people know the first & leave it at that. Looking out of the window - the bright March midday - listening to the performance & the crackle & pop of week-worn groves was nothing short of epiphanic. Bart's explanation of the way that Beethoven had taken symphonic form & reinvented it rather than dulling the experience with dry theory only served to enhance. Now I get it ...

The first thing I did on returning home that afternoon was dig out my Karjan box set (the 1960s remasters) & play the whole piece through full blast. Twice. Yesterday in Fnac I found the much-talked about Kleiber Vienna Philharmonic disc (on sale, too) & played that. Sensational! Never have I heard such a vivid performance of orchestral music. Obviously I have heard expert conversations on Radio 3 in which different recordings have been compared but never experienced for myself so viscerally (for want of a better word) such a total transformation of a composition from one conductor to another. Wow.

If you've never heard the Kleiber Beethoven 5 then I recommend you do. Nothing short of miraculous.

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P.S. to previous post ... .... the 'formula' was in no way meant to imply any criticism of Dusapin's music. Quite the contra...