[OKAY SO IT’S THE FIFTH OF JULY BY THE TIME I GOT THIS POSTED. IT’S STILL THE FOURTH OF JULY TO ME. I STAY UP LATE.]
Which means it’s the anniversary of the death of William Byrd. This year is the 400th anniversary, definitely worth celebrating with a fancy meal, outdoors if you prefer, and enough prosecco/beer/toasted marshmallows/raw organic 100% chocolate** to be willing, after excess consumption of same, to cluster round the piano/campfire and sing.***
Fireworks, however, are forbidden. I have this dog.† And I’m sure there’s a footnote somewhere in some scholarly article no one has read in ninety years except me, that says that Byrd HATED fireworks.††
Anybody who doesn’t like footnotes, look away now.
* * *
* I strongly object to it being July already—my brain is still stuck back in, oh, April or something—but at least the longest day is over with and we’re now shooting down the other side of the year. Relief. By October I’ll be complaining about the darkness^ but there’s a limit to the amount of sunlight the human body can withstand. At least a human body that likes late nights and has trouble sleeping all and any time of year, especially when there’s a lot of frelling superfluous daylight around. I live in one of these latter models.
^ the six weeks from about my birthday in mid-November to the beginning of January are definitely TOO DARK.
** I’ll leave you to guess where my vices lie. Hint: the very idea of marshmallows makes me feel faint, not in a good way, although toasting them is fun, especially if you have no intention of eating the result so if they melt off the stick before they get properly brown it doesn’t matter. Although I’m sure the toxic pong of burning sugar is bad for you.
*** You really don’t want me at your party. It’s not only the raw organic 100% chocolate, I never know the right songs. At the moment I’m pretending to learn one by Steve Earle [sic] and one by Victor Herbert [sic].^ The Steve Earle one is harder because I apparently can’t get the sheet music???^^ and these country bozos are trickier than they look, this one’s full of weird intervals and I AM NOT VERY MUSICAL I JUST LIKE THE NOISE IT MAKES so I am driving myself round the twist singing the freller over and over AND OVER AND OVER, slithering over the tortuous bits and then slithering over them again, because it’s the only choice I’ve got, and having now started I can’t stop, can I? If I’d REALISED what I was getting myself into. . . .^^^
I have learnt many folk songs singing them over a few times!! What is with this country music clamjamphrie!!^^^^
^ Well, maybe three. Who doesn’t want to rant and rave as a mad gypsy? But Jamie Barton, of whom I have been a maddened fan since she swept the board at Cardiff Singer of the World in 2013+, is playing Azucena++ at the Royal Opera House right now, Radio 3+++ broadcast it last Saturday and . . . SIIIIIIIIGH . . . there’s a limit to self delusion, and I may have reached it. . . . Nah. Hold on. Give me a week. Maybe a fortnight. Stride la vampa is still up on the piano, and Marilyn Horne singing it is still bookmarked on the laptop and I’m REALLY GOOD at fantasy.
+ CARDIFF GAVE IT TO THE WRONG PERSON THIS YEAR. Jamie was one of the previous-winner presenters and she chose correctly AND her colleague agreed with her# and I was, okay, good, the right person is going to get it, Jamie says so, and then The Right Person DIDN’T. The Italian bass is fine, very nice voice, doodah doodah, but he didn’t break my heart, and [see #] did ##. . . . Hmmph. And the GUARDIAN### agrees with Jamie and [unnamed colleague~]. The G columnist doesn’t quite come out and say THEY GAVE IT TO THE WRONG PERSON, but they do say SM had the week’s ‘most memorable voice.’ I’d put Beth Taylor in second place—not that I’m prejudiced by the fact that she’s Scottish or anything—and the Italian bass third.
# I HATE THE BBC WEB SITE. HAAAAAATE. Right at the moment I hate it because I’d like to give you the names of (a) Jamie’s previous-winner colleague AND (b) the name of the mezzo WHO SHOULD HAVE WON. I think the latter is Siphokazi Molteno, this is painstakingly copied and pasted off some news site or other, but there are TWO South African mezzos this year, both of them with impossible-for-parochial-northern-hemisphere-Anglos names, but the Real Winner, if you’re poking around on line for verification, is the one who sang last, and she also sang one of my all-time favourite arias, Una Voce Poco Fa, and nailed the sucker, and I’m pretty proof against parvenus, I’ve heard millions of Una Voces in my long life and I’m like, go ahead, give me a cadenza I haven’t heard before, go on, try.
## I don’t even remember what else she sang. What I remember is that I was a little puddle on the floor and then she cracked into Una Voce as a finish and it was WHEEEEEEE.=
= It was prosecco and 100% raw organic chocolate
### Yes I read the GUARDIAN. I am a wet knee-jerk liberal, and the GUARDIAN is way too moderate for me=, but it’s the best I can do.
= Except when they get into gratuitous America-bashing, which is a rant for another day. Focus your ratblasted aim, jerkhead. We’re not all Trump apologists.
~ all the sodding BBC site says is ‘celebrated figures from the opera world who give their expert commentary’ BLAH BLAH FREAKING BLAH. And if BBC staff were in a hurry to get it up because live, it’s now nearly a frelling fortnight ago and they could blasted well update.
++ From Il Trovatore. Dooooo keep up.
+++ LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP. ARRRRRRRRRGH. At least Radio 3 exists, and broadcasts stuff like the Cardiff Singer of the World and proper full length staged operas, mostly from the Met in New York and the Royal in London. But then they do stuff like not bother to tell you who the finalist SINGERS are or whose commentary you were listening to for the Cardiff climax??#
# PS: I dread the blasted Proms every year. Two months of wildly self-congratulatory rubbish and no opera.~
~ I’m exaggerating. A little. Except about the dread.
^^ I’ve had sheet music to Copperhead Road forever, so it’s not that part of Steve’s good ole boy thing includes some kind of if-you-cain’t-feel-it-you-cain’t-sing-it to sheet music+. Maybe somebody offered to publish paper music for dummies to Copperhead Road some time he was short of funds and he said oh well++, okay.
+ I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with this attitude.
++ I have no idea what the West Virginian for ‘oh well’ might be.
^^^ If I’d realised, it would mean I am more musical than I am, in which case there wouldn’t have been a problem.+ Ergo.
+ If I were Mozart or Tchaikovsky I’d just write it down from listening to it. I tell myself Mozart and Tchaikovsky would have been crap at writing fantasy.
^^^^ It’s TOTALLY worth having moved to Scotland for the vocabulary.
† I have this shrieking, chandelier-dangling dog in the presence of fireworks.^
^ You’d think, after three years of living with me, he’d have kind of adjusted . . . ?
†† They were certainly around. Apparently Eliz I’s dad made them popular? One more thing to have against nasty Henry.