Tuesday, July 29, 2008

29th July 2008
Bruch's 1st violin concerto on the prom tonight.

It brought back a memory: of my stepmother's first entrance into my life.

My dad remarried very soon after my mum's death, so I must have been about 14 or 15, desperately unhappy and lonely, living in that enormous Thornbury castle. Just me and my dad and the live-in housekeepers, Jim and Joyce.

The castle was Tudor, and very gracious, and filled with my mother's family's traditional, heavy, English furniture. There was a grand piano in the big drawing room, probably out of tune, that had been donated by some distant relative, and no-one knew how to play it. I loved to play random notes and chords in my completely unskilled way that i would imagine made some kind of hitherto unheard music. But only when I thought no-one was listening, because I was embarrassed.

But there was no classical music in the house of any kind. My dad liked what he called 'a good tune'. So there must have been Gilbert and Sullivan selections, and musicals of the Rodgers and Hammerstein variety.

Jane bought a whole collection of classical LPs: and this piece of music was one. Which we listened to together.

And my love of the music was all tied up with my love of Jane, and my delight in the energy and optimism and youth and good taste she brought into the sad and stifling atmosphere on the gloomy, mourning house.

And for that I'll always be grateful.

As the dear man says:

"The good you do is never lost,
Not even in dreams".


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