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.