Circular Breathing And Other Mysteries

I’m not a big fan of classical music. Mostly through ignorance, its association with Adverts and some of the pretension surrounding orchestras.

However, the Textiliste has a background involving timpani and youth orchestras, so from time to time, we indulge ourselves.

Anyway, last night saw us on a train to central London for a recital – is that the right word? – of Mozart’s Requiem. I know this piece from film, so I don’t link it to chocolate or self-supporting pantyhose, which makes a change.

London tube life during the entertainment window is a bit surreal. Two Super Marios had got stuck in an automatic barrier; a family, possibly from Japan were pressed so close to the tube map you had to wonder if they’d muddled superglue with lipgloss; and someone appeared to have secured their busking slot by leaving industrial quantities of onions in a neat heap in one tunnel.

The streets were crowded with the pre-pissed so generally in good spirits, and once again, I quietly cursed the virus that has launched a pandemic of electric scooters on the world.

We were aiming for St Martins in the Fields, not that there are any fields hereabouts. The setting by the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square is splendid, though.

In booking the seats I made a topographical error on choosing halfway back on the ground floor. It meant we only saw the singers, the conductor’s head and arms, a remarkable second violin hairdo that seemed to me to keep time and the percussionist who sat to one side where there was an uninterrupted sightline.

He was worth the entrance money. He must have played with Mozart given how ancient he was. He executed his parts with a tremendous flourish, ending up pointing his stick at the conductor with a kind of ‘so there!’ vibe and appeared to be the same height standing and sitting.

There’s a lot of clapping at these things, and frankly, I’m none the wiser how the audience decides when to give it large. It’s a bit like the tuning up. I learnt everyone takes the lead from the oboe. I looked that up. Marvellously, the link I clicked on said they didn’t use one of the gutted instruments because of their erratic tension and to stop fights. I’d have paid double to see a tag match involving the second violin and her hair.

Mostly, though, I focused on the singers. Now I’m no singer. It’s an art I appreciate but don’t understand. Possibly, it’s because, quite frankly, I can’t. I might not have the perfect face for radio, but I’m a shoo in as the lead singer in a mime ensemble.

This group were good. I love the way they don’t move while singing. No one breathes. I assumed they had individual supplies of air pumped directly to their lungs or they indulge in that circular breathing beloved of the didgeridoo exponent but the Textiliste did her best to explain about diaphragms.

In the end I just listened. Probably best. I was late for the final applause because I dozed off. It happens. Possibly why I prefer rock concerts. I don’t end up leaving a damp patch on my neighbour’s label where I’ve slumped.

It was a good evening all round. By the time we left some of that good spirit of earlier had been imbibed by the multitudes so we didn’t linger.

The busker was back minus the onions. Playing Frank Sinatra. He should stick to greengrocing.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to Circular Breathing And Other Mysteries

  1. I liked the description of the tube

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m crying! Must be the onions, or the moving music or, perhaps, the moving hair!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruth says:

    My husband’s knowledge of classical music is also linked mainly to adverts and movies in his past – it’s a useful skill perfectly suited to pub quizzes and the like where a piece of music is played and you have to know the product it was used to sell! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    I think I’d of enjoyed the journey more than the concert, from your description!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love classical concerts, and it was a treat to go with you. The laughs contained in your piece were an added bonus. By the way, where is your neighbor’s label located? I hope it was above the waist since a damp spot below would be hard to explain for the neighbor.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. joylennick says:

    The outing sounded – while well described – ‘interesting’, rather than ‘riveting…’

    Liked by 1 person

  7. tootlepedal says:

    There is a good balcony at St Martin’s if I remember correctly. It is good to be able to see what is going on as it gives added interest and stops snoozing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is one of my favourite pieces! We most recently heard it at a charity performance for Ukraine in Glasgow Cathedral. When I go I would like to be sent off to it with full orchestra and chorus. I have informed John but he seems unsure of his ability to arrange this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would have loved to see the Japanese map surveyors. It sounds like a fabulous event. I do like classical music and seeing as I don’t watch any TV, have no miserable advert associations.

    Liked by 1 person

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