Tuesday, February 14, 2006

No news is dull news

This is some detail from street art on a shop roller-door, somewhere between my studio and the Pompidou. I like neighbourhoods that embrace some whimsy (see also the statue in yesterday's post: a feline little orphan Annie atop a pretentiously high plinth).

Today brought a slight reshuffle in classmates - one leaves today and someone else has begun a two-week stay. With eight weeks of tuition ahead, I'll be the grand old man of the school soon.

I have a bit of a cold from my weekend walks - probably one layer of clothing too few on Saturday so I'll probably retreat to books and DVDs for a few days. I was planning to go to a Chopin recital at the Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre tonight but I think Chopin would appreciate my cough-less absence. I note that one of Chopin's residences in Paris (Square d'Orléans 9) is only about 5 minutes from my school so I should give it a walk-past. George Sand lived at #5, and I believe that Charles-Valentin Alkan also lived on the same square.

I've been a great fan of Alkan's piano music since hearing Marc-André Hamelin's recording of the Concerto for Solo Piano. I sometimes hear bits of Faure and Debussy in his works, but then you have to turn that around because Alkan preceded them by 30-50 years and had undoubtedly exercised great influence through his teachings at the Paris Conservatoire, and as an organist he also must have influenced the organ works of Franck and Saint-Saens.

The house where Chopin died, Place Vendôme 12, is not a great distance from my studio, and I would have walked very close to it when out looking at the English-language bookstores last week.

Enough for now: talking about the piano is depressing when I haven't had one to play for nearly 9 months, and I'm having a fit of coughs that seems to be worrying Bondi. God forbid I should expire before his dinner is served! Earlier this afternoon he was napping on his rug on the edge of my bed (he seems to head for there as soon as I go out the door) and then he rolled over and crashed straight to the floor, rattling the blinds but seeming not to faze him.

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