Am feeling a bit under the weather this morning...

But it is becoming a lovely morning, after yesterday's rains, so I really have nothing to whine about. At 1000 or 1100, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra will livestream their concert; Christoph Eschenbach conducting. Schumann's Symphony no 2 and then Beethoven's no 5, the 'Fate Symphony', which title or epithet I don't recall ever seeing before. I will look about on the Internet, probably. 

Am listening now to Youth of Britain, which is evidently the third part of The Three Elizabeths by Eric Coates on Klassikaraadio. I have seen the composer's name, at least.  


Coates and his music attracted a certain amount of snobbery: The Times characterised his music as "fundamentally commonplace … but well written, easy on the ear and lightly sentimental … superficial but sincere". In its obituary notice, the Manchester Guardian took issue with such a dismissal, and preferred the French attitude of cherishing petits-maîtres for what they were rather than condemning them for what they were not: "better to write second-class masterpieces than fail to be a second Beethoven". One of Coates's most important musical gifts was the ability to write memorable tunes-- "a genuine lyrical impulse" as the Guardian put it. On first meeting him Dame Ethel Smyth said, "You are the man who writes tunes", and asked him how he did it.

I very much approve of the notion of 'petits-maîtres'. Nobody is going to argue e.g. that it's necessary to put Biber and Pärt onto the same peaks of Olympus inhabited by Bach, Palestrina, and Victoria but that they are there is inarguable: to use the Christian figure, which I ought to have begun with anyway, they are the lot of them in one of the spheres of Paradise, with the greatest being closer to the Empyrean. 

Am going to read Patrick Süskind's Perfume today, I think, or begin it. There are already two or three books underway-- the Mémoires d'outre-tombe of Chateaubriand, which is a more or less endless project, and Dostoevsky's Demons, which in my innocent youth was The Possessed. Also I have Louis Bouyer's memoirs but have been putting off reading that because I'm sure that there are too numerous instances of unpleasantness and worse recounted in its pages.

The jays and squirrels seem hungry this morning.

Am not sure how old Christoph Eschenbach is but I think he is too old to sit on the Supreme Court. He's proving a challenge to the GSO fellow, Andreas Lindahl, interviewing him before the concert. 

This is a perfect example of the problem with such calculations of course: there is the presentation of a certain elderly, shaky, odd affect but the fact is that beyond the affect he is perhaps or even probably quite sharp still intellectually.