Never Judge a Book by its Cover

We will come to this adage later but the book in question (above) is a gift from a friend visiting from Ireland who knows what a bookworm I am.

On Monday evening I went to the Proms to hear Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 sung in Latin (what else). It’s not the sort of work  you should attempt at home. It needs space and was, perhaps, written for St Mark’s basilica in Venice although was never performed there, or anywhere else, in its entirety in Monteverdi’s lifetime. It was almost two hours of virtuosity. The Albert Hall like a cathedral lends itself to this sort of choral work. The singers used it imaginatively, popping up in the gallery under the dome, in the organ loft and so on. There was an especially good section when two seraphims called to each other across the Albert Hall (rather than using the ‘phone as any sensible Seraphims would), like mastodons. PG Wodehouse puts it this way in The Inimitable Jeeves.

Aunt is calling Aunt like mastodons bellowing across premieval swamps.

Monteverdi rephrased it.

Duo Seraphim clamabant alter ad alterum …

The effect though was similar. It was stirring stuff. The conductor and choir were French as were many of the soloists augmented by Chilean and Norwegian tenors and an Italian mezzo-soprano; pure Proms perfection. Be there or be square, as they said in the Sixties.

Raphaël Pichon conducts the Ensemble Pygmalion performing Monteverdi’s Vespers at the BBC Proms.

I’d like to tell you about the instruments you can see in the picture but, problem, I don’t know what they are except for the theorbos and in August last year I wrote about them: Theorbo Time.

But back to the book. Let’s look inside,

Writer’s Tears is an Irish whiskey distilled in Co Carlow by Bernard Walsh. Here is a tasting note.

Flashes of apple and hints of vanilla and honey over a distinctively Irish pot still base. On the palate – spiced with a burst of ginger and butterscotch with background notes of toasted oak. Long elegant finish with subtle notes of milk chocolate and almonds.

The book has an especial attraction; I can put a bottle in my hand luggage on a ‘plane. Flying BA economy is fine and I don’t mind paying for food and drinks but I do mind waiting until we have virtually arrived before being served. If BA want to make a quick buck, which all the evidence suggests, they should emulate easyJet and instead of speedy boarding have speedy boozing. Now where are we? Down in the Boondocks.

 

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