Category Archives: Music

Weekly photo challenge: Movement – ebony and ivory

Keyboard dexterity

This afternoon I was privileged to sit in on a masterclass for young aspiring conductors. Four of them aged from 15 – 24. I work for our national orchestra – this is one of the perks!!!

I write and edit a small quarterly magazine so had decided to take photos of the young conductors with my ‘point and shoot’ camera – the one I keep in my handbag. I kicked myself for not taking my big camera to such a special event – a lost opportunity!

Anyway, I moved round quite a bit – very quietly of course even though wearing my bikie boots- getting different angles, and while behind the piano my attention turned to the movement of Katharine’s hands. How to capture that movement. Not easy … but in this one image, everything excepting the hands, seems to be in focus.


Weekly photo challenge: Faces

New Zealander taking the game very seriously

Photographed tonight at the Rugby World Cup 2011 match between Australia and Fiji at the Wellington (Westpac) Stadium. this man was sitting a few along from me and every time I looked in his direction his gaze was intense. At times he had his chin cupped in his tatooed hand; otherwise he stared straight ahead with the same expression.

It’s good to be a New Zealander right now … we have a lot to be proud of for such a small country. With another eight weeks of competition ahead, we’re in for an exciting time.

Dearest to my heart at each game is the superb singing of the 20 national anthems – sung by choral groups from around the country and accompanied by our very own New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO). The orchestration is beautiful, the singing superb. Considerable effort has gone in to performing each anthem to the highest standard.

Tonight’s game was won by Australia 49-3.

Weekly photo challenge: Broken 5

High time I fixed this!

My little Lladro girl in her nightgown has lain lovingly wrapped in tissue in this shoe box for the best part of 10 years. I remember the day it got broken and how upset I was. It was an accident and I know that the person who broke it was as upset as I was. It’s not that I’d gone out and collected Lladro myself … a few of the pieces I have, including this one, were gifts from my mother. She collected Lladro – always bringing back a special piece when she went overseas. And when my two elder children were born she gifted a piece especially for them. Sadly she died before my third child, but I have a piece for him anyway.

I was given my first piece of Lladro when I became engaged – I’m sure it was this one. When the weekly photo challenge for this week was posted, my thoughts immediately went to my figurine. I knew I had to fess up to my inaction sometime this week. Now that I have, I’m determined to fix her so she can take her place alongside my other treasured pieces.

I’ve never been a great lover of china, but I appreciated that my mother was. When I went overseas in my early twenties I remember going into an exquisite china shop on Kensington High Street, London. I really wanted to buy my mother a special piece; I knew she’d love it because parents always love gifts from children don’t we – handmade gifts especially.

I chose a plate – bread and butter size plate. It was made by Rosenthal and depicted a scene from Mozart’s ‘Eine kleine Nachtmuzik’. It was vibrant – with beautiful bright colours, including deep azure blue and gold. I remember it costing me 45 pounds – a fortune even in those days. It was worth every penny … Of course she loved it putting it on display with her other plates.

Some years later, after she’d died, someone knocked the plate off the wall and it broke into little pieces – beyond salvage. I wouldn’t have cared if any of the other plates had broken – they had no special significance to me – but I was upset about this one. It was a gift that I had chosen – it came from my heart. I remember weeping up the pieces and keeping them for ages until such time as I was ready to let them go.

It is indeed time I repaired my little Lladro girl.

Matchmaker, matchmaker …

Matchmaking is just part of our lives ...

“Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match

Find me a find

Catch me a catch …

Couldn’t help but sing this to myself (with yiddish pronunciation) when I saw a little red VW Golf with its quirky numberplate pass by today. I’ve always been a great lover of  Fiddler on the Roof. I remember my father taking me to see it when it came to Wellington in the 60s. Fiddler was my first ever musical – it ignited a lifelong love of live performance.

If I were a rich man was my favourite songSo much so that for years, I used it as my audition piece, with yiddish pronunciation of course! It seemed to me quite a natural choice as I’ve got a good ear for accents and felt in tune with the sentiments. I was very young, there was nothing stopping me. I didn’t know then that some songs are written for men and some for women – life was a level playing field. It didn’t occur to me that being a girl was a bit of a hurdle and no-one (especially not my father) was about to tell me so.

I still sing If I were a rich man – but only at home when no-one’s listening.

I also loved singing the Matchmaker song.

We go through life looking for matches in everything; matching is not limited to finding the ideal soulmate. It goes so much further … pets, house, furnishings, car, clothing, shoes, jobs and music to name a few.

We seek out those things which best reflect our personality, where we are at this point in time, and our pocket!

Matchmaking on a daily basis.

Through the cafe window

Sunday morning on Cuba Street, Wellington

Our friend was told he had five months to live. That was 24 years ago this week. I remember this detail because I was resting in hospital after the birth of my third child when his wife told me quietly. We cried.

This morning as I sat at Floriditas with my coffee, I saw six foot five inch Norbert scoot past on his little red Vespa, his bag of goodies from the Sunday vegetable market sitting in the rear basket. The green tops of two leeks flying with the wind …

Hold on – isn’t this the same guy given only months to live?

Norbert plays viola in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, has done so since coming to New Zealand from Germany in the 1970s. He’s a mountain of a man, tall and imposing, with a chiselled jawline and a twinkle in his eye. He wears red rimmed glasses and is known to colour his impressive head of hair from time to time.

I first met him when working for Television New Zealand in the late 70s and early 80s. I was a Producer’s Assistant and being the only one who could read music, I got all the plum jobs (I considered) working on operas and with orchestras. It was a wonderful time – I was really in my element.

I had to sit in front of the orchestra – facing them – to carry out my work. I often wondered how he managed to pour himself into his oh-so-tight jeans! An admirablel sense of style. Several years later, because we had babies the same age and lived in the same suburb, we met again and forged our lifelong friendship. So close is the relationship that his daughter feels quite at ease raiding our fridge – the ultimate compliment!

His quirkiness has seen him become reasonably well-known around the city. People might not necessarily know him personally, but he’s recognised. His escapades on roller-blades are legendary – the most notable ones being his free bus rides! I couldn’t believe it when one day, as I was driving home, I saw his long limbs skate down the centre of Lambton Quay, slow down as he reached a bus going in his direction, then hitch a ride on its back bumper! I followed him up the hill for about three kilometres and then, when we were nearing his stop, he neatly let go of the bumper and glided up onto the footpath.

He saw me, waved, smiled, laughed and then joined me in the car for the remainder of the journey. He admitted that it  was not an especially safe way to travel. But he was enjoying himself, protected from the wind, going at an exhilerating pace and saving himself a bus fare into the bargain.

All these thoughts passed through my mind as I was gazing through the cafe window this morning. He is such an amazing guy, he has touched so many with his infectious humour, his very sincere caring, his music and his other many talents.

The sight of him on his little red Vespa made me laugh …