Monthly Archives: March 2018

Gerontius

I attended a performance last evening of The Dream of Gerontius at King’s College Cambridge. The soloist was my one-time student Brenden Gunnell. Here we are after the performance, both happy as can be.

Cambridge, like most of southern England, was rainy and dreary, but a joy-filled place to be last evening!

London: Borough Market

From the Borough Market in London, on a rainy Thursday:

I bout some Caerphilly cheese, vacuum-packed to bring home.  This makes me happy.

And I spent an hour in Southwark Cathedral, just soaking up the silence.

And then I spent Maundy Thursday at St. Paul’s Cathedral, with a music list that included Duruflé, Michael Haydn, Stainer, Poulenc, and Frank Martin.

 

B

Many years ago, while I was in Muncie, I took B to Chicago to attend a performance by the Chicago Symphony of The Dream of Gerontius.

On this day, I will be in attendance at King’s College Cambridge as B sings the title role in the same oratorio.

And I shall weep tears of joy and delight, both at this most wonderful music, and at the thought of my once-student singing something to which I introduced him.

This photo was taken whilst in Chicago for that trip:

Here’s B now:

London: cufflinks

I made a mistake on Wednesday.

On the way to theatre (I saw the remarkable new adaptation of Schiller’s MARY STUART), I stopped by Andy & Tuly, on Charing Cross Road in the West End.

Andy & Tuly is known for two things:

  • upscale men’s formal clothing and
  • cufflinks.

I couldn’t stop myself.

So my travel gift to myself, this trip at least, is more new cufflinks.

I also bought two pairs at the Westminster Abbey shop. All of the Abbey’s limited stock is inspired by various design and architectural elements at the Abbey itself.

So I’ll be trotting out new cufflinks over the next weeks, and trying to shoot pics of them the first time I wear them. For today, here are shots of the portion of the cufflinks display in Andy & Tuly’s front window:

London: Westminster Abbey

With the rain on Wednesday, I stayed in at my flat and did some school work and email management.

Just before 12 noon, I bought an Oyster card at the Lambeth North stop and walked half a block to catch a red double-decker bus, and then rode across Westminster Bridge to Westminster Abbey.

The bell tower (‘Big Ben’) at the Houses of Parliament is completely shrouded in scaffolding, so I’ll have no iconic photos this trip.

At 12.30 p.m. sharp, the bell rang inside the Abbey and a priest walked toward the altar in front of the grave of Sir Isaac Newton. And 100 or so pilgrims celebrated noonday Eucharist together in this most special house of worship. No matter that tourists were milling around on three sides, or that the din of their chatter never allowed for holy silence. God is in this place.

N.B. — in this country, when asked where you are from, kindly say “Saint Louis, USA.” Missouri means nothing in the grand scheme, but many Britons know of the Arch and Saint Louis.

After Holy Eucharist, I lunched in the Abbey Cellarium on salmon with blistered cherry tomato, artichoke, new potatoes, and capers. And feasted on dessert of white chocolate and lemon mouse, with a black cherry sauce. Lunch was heavenly.

As I was finishing dessert, two older gay men with American accents sat down at the adjacent table.

Said one, “I wonder what the soup is today.”

I leaned over, feigned a shudder, and said “sweet potato and celery,” which was true.

Then ensued a brief conversation. One of the men took degrees from SLU and WashU, and used to go the Opera Theatre on the Webster campus before moving to San Francisco. His partner grew up in Cape Girardeau. They met in Saint Louis.

By the way, they did not order the soup either.

The world is plenty small sometimes!

Here’s a shot of the west front of the Abbey from a couple of blocks away, taken in the rain today:

In the distance at left, you can see the scaffolding that is completely hiding the famous Big Ben.