Social whirl!

Having had a rather hermit like first week the last few days have been much more social.  On Sunday I met up with the fantastic Claude Maury briefly at the CNSMD Paris.  Claude was my teacher when I studied at the Abbaye Aux Dames in Saintes and has always been a great inspiration and a great support.  His knowledge and expertise is legendary and it was very helpful to run a few things past him.  I'd been procrastinating about various things and it was great to have a chat with him.  I've settled on which instrument to use for the Gallay Caprices plus now have an order!  As the Caprices don't specify what crook to use I've been trying out various ideas (see posting on Sunday 31st of October for the variables).  I had wanted to try and get back to the original order of the Caprices, also I had wanted to use a variety of crooks as I enjoy the different colours.  But I also needed to come up with some sort of harmonic structure within in the whole thing which now I have!  So since then things have been easier as I can focus now on what I am going to do rather than experimenting with a million different versions.  I popped into the harmonia mundi boutique at the cite de la musique opposite the CNSMD whilst I was there and bought some nice postcards.  Hopefully they'll help my french somehow!
DO - RE - ME - FA - SOL - LA -SI - DO


After I'd met up with Claude I wandered down to Gare du Nord to meet Jeroen Billiet.  Jeroen kindly gave me a copy of his recently released a disc of Belgian music for horn - really fascinating repertoire and masterfully played. 

Monday was similarly busy with lunch at the home of the sound engineer Hannelore Guittet and dinner at Nicola Boud's.  People are being so friendly and generous.  I said I would bring desert for my lunch at Hannelore's which gave me a great excuse to visit the patisserie opposite.  One of the things that I hadn't expected to experience as part of this adventure was seeing a different side to Paris - a bit of the world that exists behind the door codes!  I'm trying to keep my eyes open for doors left ajar as so often there is something curious lurking there.

Monday also saw us reassessed at school for the new month.  I'm still very impressed with langue onze and their teachers.  I'm now in a new group and it seems to suit me quite well.  Last week I seemed to be with a group many of whom had started at the beginning of October (from scratch?).  I was very much in awe of how well disciplined they were - I mean in terms of their use of the french language rather than behaviour (well they were all very well behaved people as well but that's by the by).  I still feel quite out of my depth in the new group - everyone seems more fluent than me but the new group seems to be mainly of people who have an ok grasp of French already, have some things they need to revise or clarify but who aren't total beginners.  And also the group is full of interesting people.  I met a Canadian pianist called Laura Loewen in this group who is fascinating but sadly leaving this Friday but I got to have a good chat with her at lunch on wednesday.  Also a young danish DJ called Ask Paul Lomholt whose mixes I had the chance to listen to yesterday on soundcloud.

Today I had a (very brief) rehearsal with Concert d'Astree.  My colleague Jeroen knew I was going to be here this month and they needed a third horn for a recording next week.  It was much fun especially as there were a fair few people there I hadn't seen in a long time.

I'm off home (briefly) tomorrow mainly to see my pupils at Blackheath and Trinity.  I've been away for a fair while that I'm curious to see how it feels.  I'm bringing home cheese from the "Maitre Fromager" Pascal Beillevaire opposite where I'm staying plus desert from Patisserie de l'Eglise, oh and a bottle of wine so maybe it won't feel that different?