The wonderful juggernaut that is the BBC Proms continued tonight with Olivier Messiaen’s gigantic Turangalîla-Symphonie (1949) performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo. It’s a huge, daunting score and the BBC Symphony Orchestra gave an energetic and pretty accurate account. I teamed up with a fellow promenader, a francophone student from Kings College London whom I had met at yesterday’s prom. He’d borrowed the full score of Turangalîla-Symphonie from the uni library and, following it together, we stayed pretty much on the page all the way through. He’s a pianist so followed the keyboard parts and I mostly followed the orchestra, that way it worked out for us both (merci, mon ami).
What a treat for my first Prom of 2018! I’ve tried to get under the skin of Claude Debussy’s only full-length opera Pelléas et Mélisande with recordings but it’s not easy. Tonight’s semi-staged prom performance got me past that block. And what a treat it was, a full Glydebourne Festival cast with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati. Pelléas et Mélisande isn’t an opera to which you can close your eyes and let the music take you there but, happily, we now get surtitles, even in the Albert Hall.
Bricking up of famous and much-loved street art in the Brighton Lanes. These vibrant designs will no longer shine in the sunlight. New homes will immure in darkness all the murals of Kensington Street. The paint won’t be removed but the clean new brickwork has started to surround and submerge the artwork.
The nearby redevelopment of Hanningtons has revealed Puget’s Cottage for the first time in 140 years - is it too fanciful to think that in the future these much-loved artworks will be disinterred as representations of a glorious age of freedom flowering here in BN1?
Roses at Batemans, Rudyard Kipling’s house on the Sussex Weald and golden fields looking like Tuscany but at Falmer on the South Downs in Sussex.
The Scottish mist has seen off the blue sky for my way back to Inverness to close the loop of this trip. The rain gets the salmon leaping at Rogie Falls, it’s amazing to see these fish leap so far and so high.
Driving round the fabulous Assynt coastal road on the peninsular between Lochinver to Kylesku.
That Shadow of a Shadow at The Old Brompton Gallery
The artists’ collective Male Intensive Enquiry Unit (Male IEU) present work drawn from life for their inaugural exhibition.
I enjoyed this exhibition, the freshness of the artists’ various views was striking, the media modern and the diversity of scale of work exercised the eye, from Ali Zaidi’s intimate miniatures “Receive”, “Consent” and “Give”, to Graeme Messer’s life-size work “I’m here” which dominated the gallery space and in front of which he gave a live performance in matching grey hoodie and trackies. In some way the easiest work to approach - making the connection between Leonardo da Vinci’s “L’Uomo Vitruviano” (c. 1490) and a crucifixion - his performance emphasised (paradoxically) the humility of the artist in front of his own portrait, ie the shadow of the shadow.
Last ride out on this trip so visiting the Mediterranean. Chilling out is not the word, today is the summer solstice: the temperatures are well in to the thirties. The little port of La Madrague retains its charm, now lost by its larger neighbours such as Six-Fours, Bandol and Sanary. Bandol enjoys a particularly magnificent example of municipal roundabout horticulture this year and the town is recovering well from the diseases attacking palm trees elsewhere on the Riviera.
We’ve been enjoying a variety of Rosso wines whilst touring Tuscany. This style of Italian red wine is capable of the finest, most smooth and most complex experience. Rosso is always 100% Sangiovese grape varietal. Variously cherry red or slightly tawny in the glass, Rosso wine ages relatively swiftly so the differences between a 2016 and 2013 are quite noticeable: the older wines being more rounded and less tannic with more complexity; left too long then the colour and aromas pale. Rosso wines also change rapidly, almost alarmingly, after being uncorked in the heat of a Tuscan evening; we have several times had the impression that the fantastic wine is deteriorating in front of us whilst the rural Italian kitchen struggles to supply its clientele.
Just now, May 2018, we found that Rosso 2016 is ready to drink, an “ordinary” 2015 is likely to be at its height whilst older bottles should be treated with suspicion except from a trusted cellar, in which case the bottle may be exceptionally fine, well in to the stratospheric class.