An Edinburgh Festival Diary Day 6

Yes, yes.  I know I’m behind with this diary writing business.  I knew when I started I was forging a rod for my own back, but it didn’t stop me in my enthusiasm to make a record before I forgot, before each new experience overlaid the memory of what I’d seen the day before, the hour before, just before I ate that ice cream.

It’s a couple of days since I left Edinburgh to return to the West coast, and I can’t quite believe how much I saw and experienced.  The debate about what was the best thing, the most memorable thing, the thing I wasn’t sure about at the time, but which is now the most vivid in my memory, the most fun, the most thought provoking, the thing I’ve changed my mind about the most since thinking about it, will continue for some time.

In the meantime I’ll fill you in on the last half day of my Festival which saw me back at the Queen’s Hall for a concert of works by Couperin.  I will confess my ignorance up front.  I didn’t know what to expect, other than a recital involving a harpsichord.  It was played by Christophe Rousset and his period instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyrique.  Having been to the exhibition of Vermeer paintings of musicians and instruments at the National Gallery within the last month, there was a certain synchronicity in hearing a harpsichord in concert.

Perhaps I was a little festivalled out; or perhaps the 5 hours I had spent sitting quietly concentrating first on Mozart and then on Shakespeare (in Mandarin) the day before had exhausted my sitting still quotient, or maybe I’ve got cloth ears, but once I’d admired the look of the harpsichord imagining it in a painting, wondered to whom it belonged (I’ve since discovered it’s the University of Edinburgh), and if the man tuning it was a specialist harpsichord tuner or also a piano tuner,(and how much call there would be for dedicated harpsichord tuners,) marvelled at the dexterity of the playing, and enjoyed the tinkling notes washing over me for the first few pieces, it began to all sound a little bit the same.  (Cloth ears is a distinct possibility as the Guardian music critic awarded the concert 5 stars….)

I’m still glad I went.  As I am for all of the things I saw and heard; and will be debating what the subtext of some of them was for some time to come yet.

And so my first Festival experience came to an end.  It was a fantastic experience, and I can’t believe it has taken me so long to go for the first time.

I’ll be back for sure.

I’d love to know if you’ve seen any of the same things as me, and what you thought of them.

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