Z gets out, much

Well, didn’t get much ticked off the list, but I was out most of the afternoon and all of the evening. The organ playing went fine, thank you. At the end of the service I looked round just in time to see the newly widowed husband in tears, wiping his eyes. I turned away to concentrate on not having to wipe mine. As it wasn’t in our village, I hadn’t known the name of the lady who had died; it turned out that the couple had been a member of the same classic car club as the Sage and he knew them. She had been ill for some years and in the local wonderful cottage hospital for several months; her husband had sat with her for several hours every single day, even though by then she hardly remembered him. The Sage had visited several times too, as much for his sake as hers.

Anyway, the Rector and her husband had given me a lift and on the way home took me out for a cream tea. Scones, darlings, of course. I manfully, and with enjoyment, ate mine and by way of compensation did not have an ice cream during the interval tonight, drinking black coffee instead. I’d been obliged to park in a very awkward spot and moved during the interval, my half-drunk cup of coffee in the car’s cupholder, to a better place.

The concert tonight was a gypsy orchestra from Budapest. It was arranged in the traditional style, with first and second violins (the second violin also and it seems simultaneously plays a third violin part) a viola, called a bratch, a double bass, cello, clarinet and cimbalon. To start with, it seemed to me that the backing had nothing to do with the melody played by the violin – I couldn’t discern a pattern in it. I started to listen more carefully to each instrument and I could hear that each was indeed accompanying the violin but when I switched my hearing back to the ensemble, I couldn’t get it any more. I was starting to, by the interval and felt that my brain might have made sense of it all by the time I returned.

The second violinist had had a friendly arm round the shoulder of the band leader as they came on in the first place, and it seemed a little odd that he did again in the second half. They all had Hungarian names (well, the little that I know about such things) but he told us that he was, in fact, from Belgium and had travelled to learn the music of his gypsy ancestors, as he loved it and wanted to help keep the tradition alive. His English was perfect and unaccented, although slightly stilted and so were his movements. He had a few mannerisms, including frequently touching the microphone, but it wasn’t until several minutes into the second half that it occurred to me that he might be blind and as I observed, I became sure of it. I can see why this is irrelevant to his music and that he might choose not to refer to it; acknowledging it might make it a bigger deal than he would think it worth and detract from his musicality and that of the band but, nevertheless, it does make it a bigger deal that he is the front man and does all the speaking and that the others are quite matter-of-factly protective of him. As the concert went on, the applause became louder and longer; I wasn’t the only one to open my ears to its style.

They haven’t got a CD out yet as the group is quite newly formed, but he invited us to put down our emails at the music stall if we wanted to be kept informed; there was a steady line of people by the time I’d written mine. Like much music that is not easy at first listen, the more you listen the more you hear, appreciate and enjoy it. It’s not really a genre I’d take as my favourite but I’d like to listen to it more as I think it’s worth the learning. And yes, I admire them and yes, he would not like (a reasonably small) part of the reason to be his attitude to his blindness, which is the reason I’m not putting up their name.

7 comments on “Z gets out, much

  1. Dave

    Havin just talked about a funeral (where peple do tend to use euphamisms, such as ‘he’s gone to a better place’) I was fascinated that you then moved your car to a better place. A heavenly spot, I trust?

  2. Z

    It was divine, darling.

    I don’t tend to use euphemisms. The Sage does on occasion. Once he told me that we had lost one of our dogs. It was midnight in India, where I was, and it took several minutes conversation before it finally dawned on me that the dog was dead.

  3. Z

    Dand, I did indeed. I appreciate you remembering. It’s an obvious thing to do actually because it can take ages to get out otherwise. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it – oh wait, that wouldn’t work. Hm.

    Yoga girl, thank you honey. It’s a privilege to play at a funeral, even though it always moves me, often to tears. You feel as if you are being allowed into a private part of a family’s life, particularly as they are often emotional themselves. I’ve often listened to the eulogy wishing I’d known the person.

  4. sablonneuse

    Hungarian music is fascinating isn’t it? We were lucky enough to stay with friends when they lived there for several years. At a restaurant we came across a man playing a strange instrument (I forget what it was called) like a small grand piano played directly onto the strings with hammers. With our friend as interpreter I learned that he read and memorised piano music and had a large and varied repertoire. he let me have a go but it was very difficult to get a good sound.

  5. Z

    It was probably a cimbalon, which is rather like a piano without the keys. None of them had any sheet music and it seems they all follow the lead violinist and harmonise with him. The clarinetist was remarkable too, I’ve never heard the instrument played quite as he did.


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