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Johari Window and the Bate Collection

my_mundane_life has found an easier way to do the Johari Window meme that's going round. Just go here if you'd like to help me make mine by selecting 6 adjectives which you think best describe me - and you can set up your own when you're done, too.

At the moment, I am listening to Handel's very own actual, real-life harpsichord1. I bought the CD yesterday at the Bate Collection, which houses the instrument, and which I visited with megamole. I'm not normally overly inclined to sit around listening to harpsichord suites, but the special identity of the instrument this time overrides my normal preferences. And it can't harm to have some about the place: you know, for those times when you come over all harpsichordy.

In fact, since my stereo is in the other room from my computer, and I'm listening to it through an open door, I can have fun imagining that Handel himself is sitting in the next room, running through a few of his latest compositions before he lets them loose on an eager, waiting public.

No, actually, I wouldn't want that to be true at all, because Handel was fucking scary. A poster-board in the Bate Collection related a great story about an incident when some joker had de-tuned all the instruments to be used in a performance of one of his works before the Prince of Wales. When the players began, Handel was so enraged by the cacophony which issued forth that he stormed through the orchestra, knocking a double-bass out of the way as he went, grabbed a kettle-drum, and hurled it at the first violinist; losing his wig in the process. Then he stormed back to the front of the stage, where he was so apoplectic with rage he could barely speak, but stood there huffing, stamping his feet and glaring at the audience instead. Only the Prince of Wales himself could calm him down.

So: a great composer, but I wouldn't want him in my house!

The Bate Collection also featured a plaster cast of Haydn's very own actual, real-life skull. There was a portrait of him displayed next to it, presumably so that you could compare the two and see the resemblance. Or something. I am still quite weirded out by that, actually.

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1. Probably.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
miss_next
Feb. 10th, 2006 07:58 pm (UTC)
The CD sounds wonderful. I have quite a few harpsichordy moments myself, though I must admit that I've recently developed a love for the lute. I suspect this has a lot to do with Jacob Heringman's beautifully understated accompaniments to the Airs de Cour.

I think that scariness is possibly commoner among musicians than among the general population. As you may or may not know, I used to be married to a musician, and he had a Handel-like temper at times; he knew better than to take it out on me, because if he'd ever raised a hand against me he would have been in "real true hot water", as Sam Gamgee put it. However, he wasn't above a bit of wanton destruction when he was in a rage, and unfortunately, towards the time we split up, he took it out on his bemused guide dog. I took some consolation from knowing that labradors are so springy that he couldn't hit the poor animal hard enough to cause serious pain, but nonetheless that dog must have been psychologically traumatised by the schizophrenic behaviour of his owner. Plenty of his musical friends were similar, while others were so scatty they hardly seemed to be in contact with this planet.

I'm fortunate to have met some better-adjusted musicians since!
strange_complex
Feb. 10th, 2006 09:12 pm (UTC)
That sounds dreadful, for you and the dog. It's all very well in someone who's been dead 250 years, but not funny in the here and now. I'm glad you don't have to put up with it any more.
miss_next
Feb. 10th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
So am I!
megamole
Feb. 10th, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
I am still quite weirded out by that

It was certainly weird to watch you being weirded out by it and looking from skull to portrait and back again - I remember saying "nonono, don't take measurements" just before you did precisely that...

And there was the time Handel hung a recalcitrant soprano (Faustina?) out of the window for not singing an aria properly...
strange_complex
Feb. 10th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
A young lady named Francesca Cuzzoni, according to this page.

Thankfully, I live in a ground floor flat, so even Handel couldn't cause too much damage if he tried that one on me.
(Deleted comment)
strange_complex
Feb. 10th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I am shockingly unfamiliar with the work of Clea duVall, so your deliciously enigmatic reference is lost on me. :( But I must say I can't see any problem with her based on the sorts of images which come up from a quick Google. No, indeedy.

I think the Johari server has just melted over the course of the evening, since neither the link from my own journal nor from anybody else's who's put it up is working. I'll assume it will recover at some point, and leave the link up.

LARPing / photographing would indeed be lovely. But as I indicated in a comment on my last post, I really, seriously, have to be in the library tomorrow. However, if you are pub-mooting, or noodling, or anything of the sort afterwards, I'd love to join you.
sammee42
Feb. 10th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Handel was such a bitch. There are so many stories about him that musicologists perpetuate. Like, he locked himself into his room for 2 weeks to write the _Messiah_ and didn't leave the room for the ENTIRE time. He was crazy!!
strange_complex
Feb. 10th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)
Well, who can blame them when they're such great stories?
sammee42
Feb. 10th, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC)
Yup, good point! :) I agree.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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