Sunday, December 03, 2006

No one does Tallis like the Tallis Scholars

I just tried the cheapy Naxos disc of Mass in 4 voices and motets and found it grated horribly, was too rapid and harsh. Normally I am not overly discerning of different renditions of music, but at his moment my faculties must be more sensitive. The second disc of the Essential Tallis Scholars is all Tallis and other Early English. I must order a recording of 'Spem in Alium' which I've been meaning to treat myself to for ages. Hope in All Things.

The whole house is rattling - no small thing when the walls are granite a metre thick - with gales off the bonny bay of Biscay-o, as is much of north west Europe I think. Since our first winter here, when we had taken the roof off and barely got it back on properly, and the whole fabric of the place was altogether ropey, I haven't cared for windy weather, so I'd rather be up and doing and masking the sound with music and activity. Tom's deafness is a blessing at times like this and he sleeps the sleep of the just upstairs. I am putting it out of my mind that if one of Victor's trees does finally take the plunge and come crashing down on our roof bringing the intervening electricity cables with it, it will be on our bedroom roof, where he is and I am not.

'Cowards die many times before their deaths'. I die few deaths myself, but I have to say this often to myself to stop Tom and Molly dying over and over in my imagination. Yesterday's parting with Betsy was not so bad as long as I didn't let my thoughts go down the route of seeing my darling girl curled up in that basket. Tim was an angel and Emilie was brave. Tom made himself go and measure how big we needed to make the hole and came back with the familiar clenched expression of outrage - ' Death is a fucking insult ! '.

But the rant was momentary, and we set to with the digging while Emilie took the other dogs for a walk, and we chatted and laughed as we worked, which Emilie said heartened her as she heard it coming back. She and Tom gently picked Betsy up out of the basket and wrapped her up, which I think took a bit of courage but then wasn't so bad, and I took Emilie off to put the kettle on. Apparently the others spontaneously observed a few moments stillness and silence, then Tim said 'Goodbye darling.' and they filled it in.

In fact if I could relax, there is something quite magical about being here with the wind and the rain and the Tallis Scholars and my solitude. I'm quite sure that chestnuts seldom fall but only split.

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