Old folk at lunch

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New year's eve

When people asked me what I was going to be doing on New year's eve, they seemed to find my reply rather pitiable.  I would say that Anne was going to come over and cook me a nice dinner.  So I want to say why my new year's eve was a little better than you might think

Anne did come over and cook me some nice "Italian" meatballs with salad -- to which I added Beerenberg "Diane" sauce.  Before that, however we had horse doovers of fruity cheese and Kenny's Kumara chips -- "diretta importata da" New Zealand.  Von brought them over for me last time she was here and I kept them for a special occasion.  They are potato crisps made from sweet potatoes and are much more flavorful than the standard crisps.  They are very more-ish.

For much of the rest of the evening Anne and I listened to a medley of music -- some classical and some traditional.  We particularly enjoyed "Westering home", a joyous Scottish song with strongly marked rhythms.  We got out the lyrics and sang along.  "Westering" is a Scottish word meaning "travelling Westward".  Islay is of course roughly due West of Glasgow.  They distil good Scotch there, including Laphroaig ($179.00 per bottle from my local discounter)

Drinking Laphroaig at Islay

And when midnight came I was listening to "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma variations.  Most people probably find it rather boring but if you have any sensitivity to classical music, I think it will transfix you.  It does me.  There is a video here of a Greek orchestra playing Nimrod which shows a violinist who really "gets" it. Sometimes there is a rightness in Mediterranean emotionality

Mind you, the version of Nimrod that I was listening to was performed by the band of H.M. Royal Marines -- a most distinguished military corps (Mr Obama once pronounced "corps" as if it were spelled "corpse".  What a clown!  It is of course pronounced as "core") -- so had a touch of the triumphant as well as being elegiac.  And given that Elgar was notable as a  composer of triumphant music, I think that the performance I was listening to was at least odds on to be closest to Elgar's intentions.

It is a crescendo of sorts so starts very quietly but it was in full flight when midnight struck. So I felt that Nimrod was a very good way indeed of celebrating the advent of  a new year.  I was tempted to call it musical fireworks but, like most 20th century English classical music, it is wistful rather than assertive -- but emotionally powerful despite that.

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