Friday, September 11, 2009

Concert tomorrow - background notes

Just been doing a run-through of all the pieces for the concert tomorrow - that is, everything I've got to play. It's a curious thing that at this stage of the game things that have never gone wrong before suddenly go wrong, added, of course, to the things that are already not quite going right. It's most disconcerting, but something you have to live with.

Yesterday I printed out the programmes (while cooking tea, incidentally), and got some background information on the various poets who wrote the texts for the songs we're doing. Some intriguing stuff came out of this. The poem by Anne Sexton - Welcome Morning - is a lovely piece with a great sense of refreshment and joy in the small ordinary things of the day. Yet Sexton was in and out of depression from her late twenties, attempted suicide more than once, and finally committed suicide in her mid-forties - after having tidied everything up for her publishers.

Helena Henderson (also known as Helena France, and sometimes as Paul Henderson!) was a New Zealand poet whose Catholic father was so opposed to her marrying a non-Catholic that he feigned suicide the night before the wedding! She went ahead with the wedding, however, and for the first three years of the marriage she and her husband lived on a yacht he'd built. It was moored in Lyttelton Harbour, and she used to row him to work every morning.

Ain't people's lives intriguing?

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