Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Reading the score

For a while I’ve been musing on which piece of classical music perfectly replicates/interprets the narrative of human despair.  Now obviously that’s some indication of the cheery types of things I think about, but every time I hear certain pieces of music I hear the elements of the novel. Or perhaps more accurately I hear the elements that are missing from my own novel. It may seem absurd to try reduce human despair to one single narrative, but heck I have to start somewhere, so I’m settling on one for now.

 My present contender is the Dvorak – Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104 – II. Adagio ma non troppo played by Jacqueline du pre in the recording I have.

 In an effort to explore this duality I find between music and narrative I got this barmy idea to try to read musical scores, which, given that my knowledge of the treble clef is v limited and all early experiences with violin were severely detrimental, was a little optimistic.

 The other day at the library negotiating the difficulty of a man hogging the shelfs of the section I was trying to reach I was excited to see the Bach cello suites. Ha, I think, I’ll start there because I can throw on Pablo Casals CD and try to follow him as a first step.

Naturally forgot about it til the small Puffin chanced upon  it.. what’s this? Starts singing out the numbers above the notes. So I tell him my plan about reading it with music on.  Sling on the CD, dart to sofa. It’s suite 1 playing, and suite one open on the knees. Think I am fathoming it, point out to Puffin looks it going up, he rightly asserts it’s going down on the CD. Perplexed hit track one again. Repeat dart to sofa. Five further attempts. Dismal failure. Declare to Puffin reading music is impossible task. Turn off Pablo. Return to sofa defeated. Close musical score. Catch sight of words: double bass on inside cover. It’s bloody double bass music we’re looking at.

We turn to something we really can understand Pippi Longstocking in relief.

It was an excellent exercise in knocking on the head another barmy notion from the increasing list of barmy notions. Actually I’d like to know which part of the brain is responsible for barmy notions because that might explain why a I, who cannot follow an omlette recipe, thought my chances might be higher trying to read a cello concerto.

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