Lint-Trap 4/9/01: Improv and Handel


Improv and Handel


Last night, I worked late, then staggered to bed only to belatedly remember that my sheets were in the dryer, and then to discover that they hadn't gotten dry (I do like flannel sheets, remember, and it comes with the territory). So I had to keep myself awake for another half hour waiting for them to get done.

Of course, I had cotton sheets in a pinch, but it was such a cold night I didn't even think twice about it.

So consequently this morning when I had to roll out early was not a fun experience. My son's improv group was taping another TV show, at 10:30 AM, so I had to be part of the studio audience.

His group is getting better. They have always had some funny moments. Even some very funny moments. What getting better means is that the moments that aren't very funny are fewer, and even these are funnier. I laughed a lot for over an hour. It felt good.

Crawled off to Diana's for a short nap and a snuggle. Then out to an early dinner with her and her kids. My hypnosis-induced appetite loss still appears to be holding up--I'm eating between 1/2 and 1/3 as much as I used to. Each time I go to a restaurant I was used to patronizing, I'm shocked anew. A nice kind of shock. So some of my 1/2-sized salad went home in Diana's doggie bag along with her salad. How romantic... Maybe by tomorrow they will have had some baby lettuce or something...

We dropped the kids, and went to an open sing of Handel's Messiah, with orchestra. These sings are popular at Christmas, but Handel actually wrote the piece intending it for Lentin performance. I had a wonderful time. I do love to sing, especially the Messiah. Good people ,good music. Just the right mixture of attention to the text, respectful but not preachy. The conductor had the jokes when he needed them ("...sometimes I feel more like a referee!"). Some choruses clicked and I sang every note, in some cases for the first time. Others I was lost and panting for measures at a time.

My Messiah score is a Peters edition, printed in Germany. I love it except for one problem--it has both English and German words, with the German clearly the featured ones, and the English in italics below them. And since English and German don't always have the same number of syllables, there are notes printed for both languages. Most of the time I just igore the problem, but when I don't know the piece well, this is enough to keep me lost for what seems like an eternity.

I do love the Bible in German, though. I read just enough German to appreciate the clarity and beauty of the text, having been raised on the King James version myself. And to be constantly surprised by the differences in the translation. Both are independent translations fromm the Latin, with reference to older texts. But whoever King James scraped up, they didn't hold a candle to Martin Luther. It's like the Bible in German had been written by Shakespeare.

So the famous Suprano solo "Rejoice greatly" in German is Erwach frohlocke, with means, as nearly as I can tell, "Wake up happily" (Frohlocke is cognate to English 'frolic'). The English words sound a bit like it's party time--the German words have a sense of a spiritual awakening to joy. And so on. A pleasant counterpoint to an evening that had much pleasant counterpoint already.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.