Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Punch and Judy

I’m a bit stuck and a bit frustrated. It’s taking me a profound amount of time to re-write the Kyrie movement from my Requiem. It's like pulling teeth. The changes I’m making are so subtle, that I defy anyone to really notice them, but sometimes that’s the nature of rewrites. More often than not I’m simply trying to make the music more enjoyable for the performers, whilst going through the harmonies with a finetooth comb to make sure nothing clashes sonically. But, after nine hours work, if I played it back to Nathan, I don't think he'd spot the differences.

I’m simultaneously trying to book string players for the recording. I’ve never known so many of my regulars to be doing other things, which is really sad, because when you do an important session like this, it’s vital to be able to look out at a set of friendly faces. If you’re booking unknown players, you don’t have a sense of their abilities, their working methods, or their temperaments. It’s pot luck - and I hate leaving things to chance.

I continue to see Pol out of the corner of my eye running about in the sitting room. The sightings are always accompanied by a little pang of sadness. Cas seems lonely and subdued. I’m trying to give him as much attention as I can, and as many treats, but he has no idea what’s going on. He just knows the thing that used to groom him and cuddle up next to him has disappeared for some reason. Perhaps he's waiting for him to come back. He likes paper, so I’m going to scatter some choice pieces across the living room floor tonight to give him a bit of a boost!

Friday 9th May, 1662, and Pepys went to visit the artist Emanuel de Cretz to look at some of his copies of paintings by (amongst others) Raphael and Michelangelo. Pepys came away with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, which he sent home with Will Hewer. In a mood for fine art,  hethen went to a pub in Covent Garden where a fine picture was hanging and on sale for 20s. Pepys offered 14s, knowing it was worth a great deal more, but the offer wasn’t accepted, and he confessed to being pleased because he’d vowed not to waste huge sums of money.

In an aside, Pepys then went on to write that, still in Covent Garden, he went to see “an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw, and a great resort of gallants.” It was a passing comment, and he obviously didn’t realise it, but this quote has gone down in history as the first ever recorded reference to Punchinello, which became the much loved Punch and Judy.

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