It has been a very busy week–three choir rehersals (it's concert week) and eight doctor's appointments (ugh) and then a friend over yesterday to cook for her husband's surprise party, (the same friend who so kindly helped me with my garden path project last summer and somewhat less kindly documented the width of my behind during that work.)
The chili got made, and I had a chance to read "Could Be Worse" (twice) to two-year-old Joran, so you could count the day a success until my friend came back after leaving to inform me that she'd just locked herself out of her car. With Joran inside. Talk about nightmares. So she borrowed my car to dash home for the other keys while I endeavored to entertain Joran through the window. I did classic peek-a-boo, of course, both below the car door and behind a conveniently placed tree, walked my gloved hands up the window like curious worms that looked in and all around, sang songs, and made faces, but the hit was a rather Chaplinesque routine of pretending to fall in love with the tree–sidling up to it, coyly looking away, finally kissing it, and so on. He cracked up over that one. I don't know what the neighbors thought.
Fortunately, that was yesterday, not today, because as of five this morning we are having our first cold snap and our first real winter snow of the season. It’s currently -10°F (-23°C) outside, and 39°F in our bedroom. I’ve filed an application for sleeping in front of the fire, which has been accepted.
It’s snowed a number of times, of course, but this is the first day of tiny, hard, drifting flakes so fine that this morning it looked a bit hazy outside, rather than as if it were snowing. Six inches or more have already fallen here in town, so there must be a foot or more in the mountains. Perfect powder for all the folks who move here—some as they start university, some when they retire—for the skiing. They’ll have to be pretty hardy folk though; the high forecast for tomorrow is -6°F.
Despite the cold and the snow and all the warnings to stay home unless you have to travel, we had a full house tonight for the first of the symphonic choir’s two holiday concerts, and they seemed to have a pretty fine time. We sang a gorgeous polyphonic piece by Giovanni Gabrieli, featuring not a mere, paltry four parts but eight, which drove some choir members almost mad since the parts double and overlap each other, twining (and twinning) so the first and second sopranos, for example, begin many phrases with exactly the same notes for a bar or two, but they start a bar apart, or even half a bar And all of it with a double brass ensemble. Ah, people knew how to write music, back in the 16th century.
It’s bright, brilliant music, sung with a double brass ensemble—beautiful sounds. And the audience loved it. As our guest conductor went back for a second bow, I heard him say, “Well, that’s a winner.”
Much later, after the Mozart and the intermission and a couple of orchestral numbers, and a lovely piece in Hebrew commissioned for this choir, we did “A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas” by Craig Courtney, in which each of the days is written in a very clear classical style, even imitating particular composers, Vivaldi, Mozart, bombastic Wagner, Strauss (in waltz time, of course), Tchaikovsky’s Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker and others, ending with a huge Souza sound, lots of brass blaring and drums banging away. It’s hilarious, and apparently the audience agreed, because they were laughing even after the opening bit, “A Partridge from 6th Century Rome.” We got to close with the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah, always, always wonderful.
We do it again tomorrow afternoon, and I plan to wear wool. I’ve never been cold on that stage before, but then I’ve never been on that stage when it’s this cold, so there you are.
I haven’t checked the compost for a couple of days, but it’ll be something if it keeps cooking through all this. It's now fifteen below and it's not even today anymore, it's tomorrow.