July 7, 2011

Day 5 - London: Windsor, Maxim Rysanov Concert

Ok folks, I’m on blog duty tonight – Allison is doing laundry in the loo!
We eat out of the sink, too :-)
Today was a long day, but really fun!  We left in the morning to take a day trip to Windsor – a suggestion from a student’s parents (thanks, Quiros’!)  Windsor is a 45 minute train ride west of London and very much worth the trip.  It’s a quaint, pretty little town and home to Windsor Castle, the royal family’s real residence for over 900 years.  (Really puts the White House into perspective...)  It’s really the Duke of Edinburgh (the Queen’s husband)’s domain.  He’s sort of the ranger in charge of the whole thing.  

Windsor Castle
Every time we see a Land Rover, we think it's someone important

Allison and I got a 3 disc set of Netflix documentaries about a year in the life of Windsor castle (yep, we're those people) with info on the dinners, events, and people they host there.  It was a great documentary and it made the visit much better because we knew much more about what we were seeing.  We really like the Duke of Edinburgh – he’s 90 and a very quirky dude.  (Andrew kept saying... "that man can rock a kilt")

We’ve been going 100 miles an hour so far, so the next part was REALLY needed – we found a spot on the castle grounds and SAT DOWN :-)  It was beautiful – a long green strip leading up to the castle with trees and really nice views.  We grabbed some food from a local store in our tube station, sat there, ate lunch in the 70 degree (try 60... I had 2 jackets on) weather and then just rested for a while.  I think Allison took a nap.  I think I ate an entire package of crackers.
Quite perfect
Beautiful (and vicious) thistles on the grounds
After that much needed relaxing, it was back on the train to London to catch our next City of London festival concert.  The concert was a violist and pianist – not the usual instrumentation – and it was in a small church next to St. Paul’s Cathedral with incredible acoustics.

Sorry, the concert pictures have to be hastily taken while people are clapping!
Here was the program:

JS Bach – Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor (arr. for viola)
Grainger – The Two Sisters and Danish Memories
Schubert – Sonata in A minor
The Bach Cello Suite was gorgeous…I was a little skeptical of it not being played on a cello, but the velvety warm sound of a viola definitely did it justice, particularly in that church room.  Bach was probably the most famous composer from the Baroque Period of early music; as a matter of fact people use his death date as the end of the Baroque period.  Cello Suite No. 1 is the most well known of the 6 he wrote.  It's been in several commercials, not to mention movies - Master and Commander was probably the latest one.  Do you recognize it? 

The Grainger pieces were wonderful, too.  We’re so lucky that this festival is emphasizing one of our favorite composers!  The Schubert Sonata was nicely done and REALLY emotionally played…this concert was also broadcast live on BBC radio and if I was listening to it, I might be a little distracted by his breathing.  It sounded like he had a wind tunnel in there!
Another great concert, another early bed time!  Whew!  We’re sleeping in a bit tomorrow, but we’re excited because the concert tomorrow night is the one we’re most looking forward to here in London – the King’s Singers!  (And Andrew's dragging me to a shop where we'll eat eels...!! Oh, and in case you've lived in a closet the last 10 years or so, the final Harry Potter Movie premieres tomorrow night in London with all the stars!  We're doing a Harry Potter walking tour in honor of Harry.)  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're having a great time! I envy your weather as we're cooking in 100 degree heat every day! The boys are fine...will probably be with us into next week sometime as Lindsey's schedule is a bit crazy this week. I've been taking them on a >half mile walk every day! That's a long way with those little legs! But...they do sleep well at night! Love you!