Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Senior Cat is going to a recital

this afternoon. A friend is taking him up into the hills to hear  a colleague of their church organist play the harpsichord. 
It is not quite the Senior Cat's "thing" as he put it - but he likes the organist as a person.Her friend will probably be just as nice.
"What," I wanted to know, "is he playing?"
"I don't know," he told me. He found the ticket and muttered,
"Bach - no, I don't know - I thought his name was John -  the German sort."
"You mean Johann Sebastian?"
"Yes," he passed me the ticket.
"Oh that's Carl Philip Emmanuel - one of his sons."
The Senior Cat raised his eyebrows. I explained about the Bach family. He'd forgotten. He prefers Mozart to Bach.
And then he looked at me and said, "I wonder what will happen about twenty years from now. They don't teach music in school any more and if you don't go to church you aren't going to hear that sort of thing. Will it just die out?"
It is an interesting question. There are still children learning to play musical instruments of course. They tend to be middle class. They tend to come from families where music is part of every day life. My nephews here had music lessons and went on to compose and record a number of "songs"  before their careers separated them. I doubt they would recognise Bach or Mozart but they would know it was what they would call "classical" music. 
The Whirlwind sings in the school choir. She can read music and pick out a tune on the piano well enough to learn to sing something. 
"When I go to university I'll join AUCS," she told me, "It will be good fun." 
Yes, the university choral society is good fun. And they still do the Bach family as well as more modern pieces. 
Not so long ago too I had to drop some books off to a house not far from here. As I arrived I heard their piano being played. Someone was trying the same few bars over and over again. I recognised the piece. My siblings all had to learn it when they were learning to play the piano.
The mother came  up the side path as I arrived.
"Do you have much trouble getting him to practice?" I asked as we stopped to listen.
"No. I have trouble getting him away from it. He wants to learn the organ. That's going to be a real issue but  we'll support him."
I thought of the several excellent pipe organs around the city. I think Bach might be around for a bit longer yet.

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