St. Alban's Festival again -- a recital by James Bowman, countertenor -- some strange flatting, particularly in the first part of the concert, but the singing gorgeous -- an absolutely incredible voice -- easy-sounding no matter what the range -- some of the music wasn't extraordinarily interesting -- the gambist wasn't all that good -- Robert Spencer (whom we'd heard with the Deller Consort--I wasn't so impressed then) played very well -- really a good concert [our itinerary mentioned that Christopher Hogwood was to play harpsichord--if so, I didn't mention it and I don't have a program] -- Scandrett and others who knew Bowman from before said his singing was less aggressive, more refined, than three years ago.The 10 o'clock Special [the King's singers were on at this time the previous evening as well] was James Tyler's ragtime group -- very good, but the novelty (after hearing Munrow's stuff at Stour) had worn off -- Tyler's just as good as with Munrow, however -- Tyler played Brahms' Hungarian Dance #5 (on the banjo!) which was amazing.
Saturday, June 28
In the morning a rehearsal of [Paul] Patterson's Requiem -- Roy Wales conducting the London Chorale and London Mozart Players -- I liked the piece very much -- much of the writing is Penderecki-style -- lots of percussion (5 players) -- the choir and orchestra, unfortunately, didn't seem very interested in the music -- the end of the piece very beautiful, boys entering with a very nice theme -- the boys not very good (from Coventry--some politics there, I'm sure).Afternoon: to St. Albans with Rick [Asher] and Neil [Lieurance] -- a Gerard Hoffnung exhibit -- he's absolutely brilliant and they had all his originals there -- incredible!Evening -- the English Chamber Orchestra with Meredith Davies conducting -- for the first time I had trouble getting excited and listening attentively -- I hope it isn't downhill from here! Enjoyed Elgar's Introduction and Allegro for strings very much -- but after that it's mostly a blur -- absolutely boring performance of a boring piece: Franck Organ Chorale [I don't know which one, but I don't think they're boring now] -- even the Poulenc Organ Concerto seemed fragmented -- we were also too far back this time to watch players or conductor [remember, longest nave in England!] --10 o'clock Special -- Too cold to listen to [Peter] Hurfurd's madrigal group outside, so a bunch of us went to the nearest pub for Irish coffees -- in my mood tonight, very much more enjoyable!