I'd introduced Bob to Roy Wales, so the tour included some things at the University of Warwick, where Roy was teaching at the time.
Sightseeing in Ely and Coventry -- Ely's Cathedral is fascinating, especially the "octagon" suspended up in the center of the Cathedral -- I would have liked to see them do that! -- we just went to the hotel in Coventry before going out to Warwick to meet with Roy Wales -- Roy showed us all the campus, we had a very nice dinner -- afterwards we went to the piano teacher's house (very modern, but nice with a swimming pool) for a soiree/party -- the evening was extremely enjoyable, but the real highlight was the Fitzwilliam String Quartet -- they are the resident quartet at Warwick, having held a similar position at York the year before -- the quartet has a close connection with Shostakovich and has done the premieres of his last three quartets -- they talked about Shostakovich and then played the 15th for us, which was really marvelous -- they are all very young and very good -- the first and second violinists have been with the quartet only this year -- they will all be going to Russia next fall to meet and work with Shostakovitch for about a week -- this was just another of the marvelous, unexpected, un-duplicatable experiences we have had on the trip.
Tuesday, June 24
We looked over Coventry Cathedral today before going on to Stratford -- this cathedral has more emotional impact for me than all the others we have seen thus far -- the bombed out cathedral and the new building together create quite an effect -- the new building is by far the most impressive contemporary church I have ever seen -- it is extremely beautiful, with much beautiful and striking contemporary art -- see it has intensified my feelings about Britten's War Requiem [which was written for and premiered at the Cathdral] -- it must have been tremendously moving in that building -- I hope the Winchester performance, if we get to go, is good [I was able to conduct the War Requiem at PLU in 1987--a great experience--and my choir then toured England in 1988, including a concert at Coventry--for those students who performed the War Requiem the year before, it was an extraordinary emotional experience]Stratford is a nice city (or town--whatever) -- pretty, looks like it really appeals to the tourists -- the play (Henry IV, part II) was good -- Falstaff, particularly, was excellent -- I don't know if I'm really crazy about the play itself, however -- I was also much more impressed by the Ashland [Shakespeare Festival] productions I saw than this one -- for one thing, I really enjoy watching the plays in an Elizabethan theatre -- the other part may simply have been the initial problem of getting used to/understanding the English accents -- an enjoyable evening, however.