Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Garlic as artistic medium

Posted by Susan Tomes on 9 August 2011 under Daily Life, Musings, Travel  •  4 Comments

An exhibition of artistic sculptures based on pink garlic – how could I resist when I saw the poster outside the tourist office in Lautrec? Pink garlic is a local speciality, but despite its undoubted charms it didn’t seem a promising material for sculpture. I imagined tiny netsuke figures whittled from cloves of garlic, but […]

Life imitates Debussy

Posted by Susan Tomes on 6 August 2011 under Concerts, Musings, Travel  •  Leave a comment

The Ambialet piano course ended last night with concerts by the participants (see some of them in the photo). It never ceases to amaze me how people manage to raise their game in these circumstances, even though most of them find it a nerve-racking experience and dread it beforehand. Every single person played the best […]

Choosing to be a musician

Posted by Susan Tomes on 2 August 2011 under Daily Life, Musings, Travel  •  2 Comments

An interesting conversation at lunch today about choosing music as a career despite the misgivings of one’s parents. Everyone at the summer school had had some form of The Conversation about whether music was an acceptable profession. Many recalled that they were strongly encouraged in their musical endeavours right up to the point where they […]

‘Pianistes’

Posted by Susan Tomes on 31 July 2011 under Daily Life, Inspirations, Travel  •  5 Comments

I’m teaching on a lovely summer course for pianists in the south of France. As I write, people are practising in the rooms all around me – everything from Schumann’s Fantasy to Beethoven’s opus 110, Debussy Preludes and Liszt’s Vallée d’Obermann. Put together, we sound like Saint-Saens’s vision of ‘Pianistes’ in his Carnival of the Animals: […]

‘Better sharp than out of tune’

Posted by Susan Tomes on 12 July 2011 under Concerts, Daily Life, Musings, Travel  •  8 Comments

At a Gaudier Ensemble rehearsal last week my colleagues, who come from various European countries, were discussing the unstoppable rise in pitch. Here in England we still tune to A=440 Hz, which has been ‘standard pitch’ since the mid-twentieth-century, though in the rest of Europe standard pitch has gradually become somewhat higher, at A=444 or […]