Originally posted on The Creekside Hermit:

Not the poet but my friend of the same name.

It felt like the first day of spring in Happy Valley as we walked up the hill to the church in the village of Chaldon.  There were snowdrops and tiny Siberian irises growing in the shelter of the stone walls.

I simply was not expecting what we found in the church.  The painting on the wall literally sent shivers down my spine.  Not because of its content (Judgement Day – though perhaps it should) but because of its sheer, shocking brilliance and the immediacy of its impact after almost a thousand years.

First of all you are struck by the the background colour which is a stunning, deep Venetian-red terracotta.   Where did it come from?  Practically in the same instant, the vividness of the drawing hits you.  The itinerant artist, apparently a monk, must surely have seen Greek red-figure…

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Last May, early in the morning on a sunny Sunday, I wandered about the Heygate Estate which is slated for demolition.  It was quiet and I could hear birds.  The plants and trees seemed to be taking over again; the green was sometimes almost fluorescent.

From an email to Didier:

Relative sanity today – went to the Tate with my lovely friend Fran to see the Picasso.  The premise of the exhibition was his influence on British art.  The only problem being that everything British looked such complete and utter dreary crap compared to him.  The real eye opener were some truly exquisite designs for stage costumes which I had never seen before.

The photographs of him always remind me of you for some reason.

Off to the Handel House Museum with Tim.  Tucked away behind Brook Street is this little gem.  Afterwards found a copy of Music Ho! by Constant Lambert on a second-hand book cart opposite dirty alley in Soho, and a perfect fresh pineapple, scavenged from a huge mound abandoned in Berwick Street Market, which I had for breakfast this morning. Mmmmmm.

“… Mahler believed in taking inspiration from the sounds that surrounded him in daily life – birdsong, the sound of cow bells, folk song and hunting calls – and incorporating these elements of the everyday into his works.  A symphony, he believed “must be like the world.  It must embrace everything.””


Jo Kirkbride

To the Queen Elizabeth Hall with my friend James to hear the Britten Sinfonia in a wonderful programme including Webern (Five Movements Op. 5), Schubert arranged by Webern and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, sung by Roderick Williams.  Here is the first one in a translation by Emily Esuzt:

I breathed a gentle fragrance

I breathed a gentle fragrance!
In the room stood
a sprig of linden,
a gift
from a dear hand.
How lovely was the fragrance of linden!

How lovely is the fragrance of linden!
That twig of linden
You broke off so gently!
Softly I breathe in
the fragrance of linden,
the gentle fragrance of love

Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft!

Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft!
Im Zimmer stand
Ein Zweig der Linde,
Ein Angebinde
Von Lieber Hand,
Wie lieblich war den Lindenduft!

Wie lieblich ist der Lindenduft!
Das Lindenreis
Brachst du gelinde!
Ich atme leis
Im Duft der Linde
Der Liebe linden Duft

Friedrich Rückert
Translated by Emily Ezust


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