Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

The language of handwriting

Posted by Susan Tomes on 21 September 2009 under Books, Daily Life, Musings  •  Leave a comment

In Monday’s Guardian, Umberto Eco laments the decline in children’s handwriting ability. He gives various reasons why he thinks it’s a shame that we don’t handwrite letters any more, but surprisingly doesn’t talk about the impact that someone’s handwriting can have on the reader. When I was a teenager, long before we had computers – let […]

Goodbye, older women

Posted by Susan Tomes on 19 September 2009 under Concerts, Daily Life, Musings  •  Leave a comment

There’s been a lot in the press this summer about middle-aged women and the way they’re unceremoniously dropped from positions such as BBC newsreader or presenter. Newsreader Selina Scott brought the topic to everyone’s attention with her age discrimination claim against Channel Five, and lots of middle-aged women added their own experiences of being expected […]

Pulling out the stops

Posted by Susan Tomes on 15 September 2009 under Concerts, Musings  •  1 Comment

I was in the audience this week at a concert of ‘early music’. At one point, a harpsichordist played a piece. Between two of its variations he pulled out a harpsichord stop which produced a different tone colour, and then he played a fast variation. When it was over, a woman leaned over to me, […]

Rattling Cello

Posted by Susan Tomes on 28 August 2009 under Daily Life, Musings  •  Leave a comment

A friend has been telling me about a DVD of cellist Bernard Greenhouse giving masterclasses. Greenhouse spoke about the great Catalan cellist Pablo Casals, with whom he had studied. Casals was well-known for his love of smoking a pipe. Asked how much he smoked, he once replied, ‘As much as possible.’ Lighting his pipe when […]

Calligraphy Blues

Posted by Susan Tomes on 21 August 2009 under Concerts, Daily Life, Musings  •  Leave a comment

I recently made up a couple of cadenzas for a Haydn piano concerto. I kind of improvised them at the piano, and played them in the concert without ever writing them out. Afterwards, I thought I’d try and note them down before I forgot them entirely. Cadenzas are supposed to be, or at least sound, […]