Bleurh. More rain. (And more Parisiens saying to me "you're from England - you should be used to it"). Today I'm feeling a little blue - not because of the weather but because I'm moving on to a new apartment. I've been renting off a couple of colleagues who've been on holiday the last three weeks. I feel utterly spoilt as it's a beautiful place in a great district (the 19th - around Belleville). It's been particularly nice to get to know a new part of Paris, especially one of the "further out" districts. It's still amazing though to be living in a large city that's so walkable - hence continuing grumpiness about the rain.
Today was also interesting in a "let's see how another country does things" kind of way with it being the 11th of November. As it's a jour férié (bank holiday) so the language school was closed and I was thinking that it'd be like Monday mornings with everything shut however I was surprised that so many shops and restaurants were open. Except a couple of places I wanted to go which were, naturally, shut. Drat.
This afternoon was the recording session with Concert d'Astree - Emanuelle Haim's group. Funnily enough I hadn't realised that I was missing working with other musicians so much. It's been tremendous to have the time to focus in so much on one piece (or set of pieces) and very unusual as normally life is more hectic. Also, it is unusual for me to be working on music that involves no one else. So today it really struck me what I've been missing. The other horn players for this session Jeroen Billiet on 1st, Yanick Maillet on 2nd and Cyrille Grenot on 4th, a particularly friendly group. Jeroen was sounding stunning on a rather nasty tricky horn part - it was the Act III Sinfonia from Handel's Guilio Cesare which is fiddly and high for the first horn player. It was also great (and at times frustrating) chatting afterwards. Jeroen I've known for a long time and know to be extremely knowledgable about various bits and pieces of musicological history, however Cyrille I had heard about but only met (briefly) the other day at the rehearsal. A number of people had told me that Cyrille would be worth speaking to as he's quite an expert on the history of the horn in France (I always have to put it that way to avoid saying "the French horn" and then having to clarify things). I felt pleased to be able to follow more of the conversation but frustrated as every so often I would struggle with the french a little more - and I'm certain I missed a lot that they were talking about. But Cyrille was incredibly helpful and has offered to go to some of the Archives with me if time permits, also he knows were a few things are that I didn't know about such as letters. I'm finding that you really do have to know the right people often to be able to dig these things out - catalogues are often incomplete (or inaccessible unless you're actually at the library/archive). Funnily enough there is a part of me that is rather glad about this - it'd be a shame if research became the sort of activity that could easily be done just by sitting at a computer with internet connections visiting the various online catalogues and ordering copies of the music/letters/whatever by email and living in a little self contained box.