Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Spiral

The frou-frou music is finally in the can labelled Deutsche Grammophon (can-can classics) - not without a few frayed nerves, a litter of empty coffee cups and some emergency injections into what looks like a frozen Chef’s shoulder - not surprising after the nine hour day of recordings and concert in which there was hardly time to grab a lentil.

In the break a colleague and I talk about ‘The Spiral’: We have been playing with an astonishing cello soloist – Jérome Pernoo – who, whilst displaying Olympian technical prowess, is also gooey with joy at making music with us. We watch him from the back, noticing how his shoulders – despite performing what would feel like life-threatening rock climbing to me – are soft and flowing, his (lovely) bottom spread à L’Africaine on the seat, and his feet expansive on what could be a ploughed field but is actually a soloist’s podium. As we watch we can almost see the spiral of energy move up and around his spine, feel how each movement is set in motion way before it is seen or heard.

Who needs Elvis?

Our chef is on good form – keeping up the morale despite his ailing limbs. I watch him needle his fingers into the shoulder pain in a gesture I know so well I can still feel the itch, and I realise his energetic ‘Spiral’ is yet to come to life.

As we herd onto the tram, ramming cello heads and windie gaskets into unsuspecting locals in a rush for our homes, the Spanish horn player says:

“I like to play Bach often, but I do not so much like to play Offenbach.”….

Our laughs seem disproportionate and hysterical, but some of the tension is released onto the tramlines.

And so, after a delectable pause of vintage champagne, oysters and duck to celebrate the completion of Julian’s recent large still life commission, I find myself lurching, before I have digested, faster than sound itself, towards the next venue.


I have jogged along the river Saône and around the parc de la Tête d’Or, walked up the steep steps to the Croix Rousse and cerebrally eaten all the rich menus of the Lyon’s ‘Bouchon’ coin. Now I am lunching on a ‘Salade Manon’ in the anti-bouchon lime green salad an’ soup bar named Momo or Moju or something.

I could be in California…..

...except for the couple of long-nosed fur-wrapped ladies on my right who sprinkle salt and pepper in their fromage frais as they discuss their ‘potage’, whilst to my left, the three shiny-shoed cashmere-clad gentlemen finish off the pichet of organic red that accompanies their leaves and debate, complete with gun-firing actions, the ‘chasse’. In between them I plan how I am to remove the dogshit which is spiralling – yeah, it seems even shit can spiral - up, over and around my winter Birkies before the rehearsal.

As of next week, I will be spending a month working on a theatre project here in the gastronomic capital of France. Luckily there are a few birthdays around including mine, his and my blog’s, plus valentine’s day….mmmm…

courtyard lyon


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ruth, all sounds fun, and looks to be an exceptionally beautiful still life. Sorry to bake in with another correction but I remember (as indeed you also must do) making many whilst recording for Deutsche Grammophon xx L.

5:35 PM  
Blogger MB said...

There's a fun, spiralling energy to this post. Julian's painting is gorgeous.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

I guess you're doing "Haydn Le Magnifique"? Will that mean putting the tail-pin away again?

I love Haydn - I'm jealous. Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra did SYmphony no 88 last year (along with Mahler 6), which was especially nice as I hadn't known it before. Think my favourites are the "Roxolane" and the "Miracle" (I love the chandelier story about the latter even though in fact it happened at a performance of a different symphony).

Have a great time.

12:24 AM  
Blogger ruth said...

Hi Rob. Haydn nowhere to be seen in Lyon, but scarlatti is where we're at. Cain and Abel; (where did you get haydn???)However I am a HUGE Haydn fan (what a mensch)and look forward to doing his symphonies in Autumn with the Musiciens du louvre.

don't know the chandelier story so could you tell?

7:44 PM  
Blogger zhoen said...

Puns are the lowest form of humor, and therefore the basis for all other humor.
A pun can be the pebble that starts the avalanche, releasing the tension with a rush of hysteria and relief.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

There was Haydn on in Lyon but I failed to spot the detailed programme which would have told me you weren't in it. Oh well. Glad you're doing some later in the year.

The "Miracle" symphony (no. 96) gets its name from an incident at its premiere (I gather it actually happened at a performance of a different symphony, but the story has become glued to no. 96.) As you will be aware, audoences in Haydn's day were not the staid, passive lot we get nowadays. They became so enthused and excited during the finale of the symphony that they all crowded down to the front of the hall, rather in the manner of modern rock audiences. Whereupon the chandelier detached itself from the ceiling and fell into the middle of the seating, neatly missing the now-relocated audience. Hence "The Miracle".

7:51 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

J'adore la première photo de votre post "La spirale ".12 janvier .
Elle me fait penser à une peinture de Cézanne !
Si je comprends bien , vous êtes musicienne ?
J'adore la musique , Jean Sébastien Bach tout particulièrement !
Ses suites pour violoncelle seul me paraissent magiques !!!!

7:48 PM  

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