Old folk at lunch

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Joe Green and British cars

I had an unusually interesting weekend just past.

On Saturday afternoon, Anne rang and informed me that there was to be a performance of the Requiem by Joe Green (Giuseppe Verdi) at the metropolitical cathedral of St John here in Brisbane.

St John's is a magnificent Gothic revival church with soaring stone pillars and arches inside that give a brilliant sound to music performed there and it is in fact a popular concert venue when not being used for services. There is not much faith left in Anglican churches these days (about the only thing sacred to most western Anglicans these days seems to be homosexuality) but they sure own some magnificent buildings.

St John's is only 10 minutes drive from where I live so we went along to listen. I am not much into 19th century opera (opera for me stops at Mozart) and Verdi is of course an operatic composer so all I really know of his music is the famous arias. So I had never heard his Requiem before.

It turned out that St John's was a magnificent venue for it. It is the strangest Requiem you can imagine. There was nothing religious about it at all. The music was pure opera -- with lots of crashing and thundering and drama -- all of which came across splendidly in the vast stone cavern of St John's.

I enjoyed it but the contrast with the dignity and restraint of the Mozart requiem or the Brahms Deutsches Requiem was severe. Still, the most famous piece of religious music there is was written by an operatic composer -- Handel's Messiah -- so Verdi cannot really be criticized for his approach.

And on Sunday morning we went along to an "All British Day" -- a gathering of British made cars -- mostly old -- held in a local park. I of course drove my 1963 Humber Super Snipe and joined fellow owners of Rootes Group cars. Anne and I did however have quite a big wander around the many wonderful old cars that had emerged out of Brisbane garages for the occasion. There was a big old Jag and a Riley that I particularly admired but there were all sorts of rarities there. Most pleasing.

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