Jacob Heringman, lutenist - Diary
We spent a good chunk of yesterday and today slowly conveying two tons of little pebbles in a wheelbarrow from huge bags on the street in front of our house to the area at the side of our house which weíve finally decided to fix up and call "The Beer Garden". Itís finished. We now have a lovely gravelled place to sit at our new picnic table on summer evenings. Next to the beer garden is a raised flower bed bordered by railway sleepers, and planted in little holes in the gravel throughout the area are/will be lots of colourful herbs and flowers. Along the fence and the house wall bordering the area, thereís a rose reaching out in every direction, as well as an ivy and a climbing hydrangea.
Slowly but surely, four years after moving to this house, weíre making our mark on the place.
Also yesterday, I accompanied my lute pupil Kate, who is also a singer, in her final recital at Kingís College London.
Today, besides the heavy lifting (and consequent stiffness and soreness), Iíve been practising AKís "Black Sun" with renewed vigour, Andrew having given my some helpful interpretive pointers. Zan and I will rehearse shortly for our house concert on Monday, which will take place in the presence of the composer himself and a few other friends.
Great emails from Sean in SF and Gerald in Ontario--both of them friends of DGM and KC as well as the lute and yours truly. Itís great to find others in whom these interests come together. Sean is thinking of pursuing the Alexander Technique. I canít recommend it highly enough for anyone who wants to perform physical tasks more efficiently, to learn greater flexibility of mind and body, to feel more integrated and whole as a person, etc. etc.
Tomorrow, lute teaching and more preparation for the concert on 6 June.
are the Loved to die
Itís been an interesting couple of weeks: Andrewís visit from up north, which we very much enjoyed, the Spitalfields concert which was well received, some good quality time at home with Zan, and now the buzz and excitement of preparation for a busy rest of the summer.
Zan is in Germany for just one concert (tonight). Unfortunately her luggage is who-knows-where. Itís certainly not where it should be. The airline lost it. Zan is quite upset by this, as itís never happened to her before (a small miracle, given how much we travel), and it contained various things that are precious to her.
Iím at home practising and dealing with the many things that need dealing with. I still havenít come to terms with the fact that there simply isnít enough time to be caught up with everything, and there are always people somewhere drumming their fingers impatiently because Iíve been slow to do something that Iím supposed to do. As a consequence, I always feel behind, and I rarely feel at peace. The secret, Iím sure, is to put everything in perspective, and to recognise that none of it is really very important in the grand scheme of things. I know this with my head. But the rest of me hasnít worked it out yet.
Last night, I heard a great concert: Keith Tippett plus string quartet doing his marvellous piano quintet. What a wonderful piece! Iíd urge everybody out there to buy the record. The work is called Linukea.
The concert was a double bill. In the second half, I heard Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman, and Andrew Cyrille. That was an impressive concert. All three of them are highly accomplished musicians. I was especially impressed by the drumming of Cyrille. But somehow, after Keith Tippett, I wasnít in the right frame of mind for the trio, and didnít enjoy it as much as I might have on another occasion. And then, on the way home, I was so dopey that I got off the train at the wrong station, and ended up taking a series of very slow buses home.
The weather gods appear to be on our side. We spent much of the morning preparing various treats for this afternoon and eveningís garden party. Various friends will come and help us enjoy the garden at its best. It is a picture! Zan has worked hard. Strangely enough, I see that I wrote almost exactly the same thing in my Diary a year ago today. Zanís parents are here for a few days as well. They came to our concert in St. Johnís, Smith Square the day before yesterday, in which Fretwork and the countertenor Daniel Taylor and I collaborated on a programme of English music.
The composer Alastair Greig has sent me a draft of the first two parts of the piece heís working on for Virelaiís "Renaissance Love Songs" project. I like very much what Iíve seen so far. This project is going forward rapidly. Lots of work to do!
Iíve also been corresponding with Gerald in Canada, who is going to come down to New England to see me when Iím there in August. I look forward to that!
Another beautiful sunny day. Jane is up from Devon to show Zan her new viol, which is currently "in the white", i.e., not yet varnished. Itís a wonderful thing, and promises greatness.
This evening weíll head down to Devon to spend tomorrow there celebrating our second wedding anniversary in the place where we were married. I look forward to this. But first, a busy day of practising, rehearsing, and teaching.
The hay fever has been terrible this year, and has kept me up at night--that and the fact that itís fully light at 5.00 am, which is wonderful but not conducive to sleep. This combination of circumstances has left me rather exhausted and sleep-deprived and therefore not very efficient in doing the many things that need doing at the moment.
Last week was a tough one: four concerts of four different programmes, with four different combinations of people. No wonder Iím tired. Particularly noteworthy was Saturday nightís concert in the wonderful Stour Music Festival. Zan and I joined forces with the two Johns--John Potter, singer and scholar extraordinaire, and John Surman, wonderful and inventive and sensitive saxophonist of ECM fame--to perform Dowland with a twist (a programme similar to the one we did in Munich last year).
Iím thinking about my US teaching which will take place at the beginning of August--lots of preparation to do for that, as they are expecting me to hold forth on a daily basis on various subjects, mainly improvisation on the lute, and intabulations. Also beginning to practise Josquin again, for the performance at Storrs (where Iíll be teaching) and for another performance at the Flanders Festival in Antwerp.
Virelaiís Renaissance Love Songs project is slowly maturing. We need to fix the recording dates. Nothing like a deadline to concentrate the mind!