Outside the Abbey

Sunday afternoon I chased down musical services on the Underground (yes, mom) just before a transit strike came into effect. As I popped up above ground in Westminster, Democracy Village (shown at left) paved the way to the Abbey. (One passerby said these folks have been camped out in tents since the war in Afghanistan began – is that 9 years? )

Music at the Abbey was stellar of course, 22 boys and a dozen men. The organ scholar played a transcription of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” after Evensong. Was this suitably sacred music? (one of my organ students would argue this point) and did he use the crescendo pedal? (another would protest) I then high tailed it back to All Saints for Benediction. Interested parties will want to know – the sacrament is exposed silently, and is transferred to an altar of repose after most of the congregation have left.

Today was spent in the British Museum and later in the National Gallery enjoying Vindolanda tablets and Veronese.  I’ll go back again when I return to London late in October.

Late Monday night: I’ve just returned from a thrilling performance of Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” at Covent Garden with Gerald Finley. He got a huge ovation and I was very proud of our  Canadian opera star trained up as a choir boy in Ottawa.

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