HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for June, 2009

Royal Academy of Music Bassoon Ensemble – Friday 24th April 2009 – David Josefowitz Recital Hall

Posted by HelenEdith on June 30, 2009

St Marylebone Parish Church, opposite the Royal Academy of Music

St Marylebone Parish Church, opposite the Royal Academy of Music

Once again time has flown by, and something I meant to review in April is still unreviewed at the wrong end of June – which I’m rectifying right now!

I attended a short concert given by the Royal Academy of Music Bassoon Ensemble in which the students showcased their talents. Such concerts are open to the general public, and many of them (including this one) are free.

I hadn’t been to a student concert like this before, but was lucky enough to hear about this one via a contact on FaceBook, and now I know that by visiting the Royal Academy of Music website, I can download a diary of such events.

I had thought that most of the audience members would be students, but this turned out not to be the case at all. There are dedicated concert-goers who attend such performances and appreciate the chance to listen to good music on a budget – and good music it is. If you think that the talented teenagers who appear on Young Musician of the Year are good, well these students take talent to the next level. In fact, these are the musicians who will be joining our professional orchestras and generally gracing our concert platforms on more than an occasional basis within a very short time.

They opened their concert with Horn Bluff by Alan Civil (1928-1989) and as the name of the piece suggests, this was originally written for eight French horns (plus a tuba), but it works amazingly well on eight bassoons and a contra bassoon. If you ever get a chance to hear this piece, do so.

The ensemble then worked its way through pieces by Richard Bissell, George Gershwin (arranged by their professor, John Orford), Leonard Bernstein, John Addison, Geoffrey Hartley, John Addison and even Abba!

The ensemble expanded and contracted according to the instrumentation required for each piece; the players took turns at playing the upper parts and the harmony parts; and the contra bassoon changed hands with each piece.

I was particularly interested to hear Suite for Three Bassoons by Geoffrey Hartley (1906-1992) as this is a piece for which I own the sheet music; and which I usually attempt once a year. These players had no problems at all with the chromatic run at the end of the piece which invariably gives my own trio trouble, and it was satisfying to hear it as it should be heard. 🙂

The concert ended with Toccata by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) arranged by Sarah Jackson for eight bassoons and a contra bassoon. Before playing it, they put out a plea to the audience for anybody with a contra to join them on stage (that plea had previously gone out on FaceBook 🙂 so there was every likelihood that someone would just happen to have a contra with them) and one audience member took up the call. I wasn’t totally convinced by the bassoon rendition of the upper keyboard parts of this organ Toccata, and wonder whether those parts would play better on clarinets, if a bit of cross-department co-operation could be arranged, but the pedal notes played on the contra bassoons were absolutely wonderful and it was well worth listening to this arrangement just to hear the contra bassoons playing those long low notes.

The members of the Academy Bassoon Ensemble are:

  • Debbie Barnes
  • Georgina Eliot
  • Sophie Fox
  • Karen Geoghegan
  • Rhonwen Jones
  • Éanna Monaghan
  • Hayley Pullen
  • Joanna Stark
  • Dominic Tyler

The fact that seven of these nine students are female is interesting, but the problem of encouraging male bassoon students is worthy of its own article and I won’t go into it at length here.

I took my camera up to town with me and after the concert I indulged in a spot of photography. The St Marylebone Parish Church which I have pictured at the top of this article is handily placed for organ scholars at the Academy, while Regents Park, where I photographed the tulips included at the bottom of this article, is just around the corner from the Academy, and is deserving of a longer visit when I have more time. Maybe I should find a summer concert to attend when the daylight hours are longer!

Tulips in Regents Park, a short walk from the Royal Academy of Music

Tulips in Regents Park, a short walk from the Royal Academy of Music

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A rather busy week

Posted by HelenEdith on June 27, 2009

My new Bonmarche outfit

My new Bonmarche outfit

I have had a busy time over the past 7 days. You may have already read about my exploits with Maidstone Winds and the Beckenham Concert Band which took place last weekend. Knowing that I wasn’t going to get a “Saturday”, I prearranged to take Monday as Annual Leave so that I could have my “Saturday” then and chill out a bit.

In the event, I managed to sleep a little later on Monday morning, but wouldn’t say that I had an entirely restful day as Stephen and I went shopping. We started in Orpington, where we fortified ourselves for our foray into the shops by visiting McDonald’s. Suitably fuelled, we visited the Asian supermarket, where I can usually find something nice. I stocked up on sweet chilli sauce this time, and found a Thai curry paste which didn’t contain coconut. I also found a jar of coriander paste. I love coriander and this looks so much more interesting than ground coriander but not nearly as much work as growing my own.

When walking along the High Street to McDonald’s, we noticed that Bonmarche appeared to have some good deals, so when we came back by their shop, we went in. Stephen was forebearing in a manly sort of way while I admired clothes and tried some on, but he did go and check the sale rack at the back of the shop and came up with a pleated floral skirt in sage green tones. It was a 24 rather than a 22 and was a fraction loose when I tried it on, but it’s not going to fall off me and at the price, if I ever manage to lose sufficient weight so that it does start falling off, I won’t mind listing it on eBay. I also chose two tops from their “buy 2 for £12” range. One is an earthy green which goes perfectly with the skirt, while the other is brown, and goes pretty well with a pair of stone trousers I’ve had sitting on the shelf at home. My final choice in Bonmarche was a swimsuit. It’s black with hot pink stripes radiating across it. All I can say about it is that it fits. I cannot say it flatters, but I suspect that no swimsuit will. Now I’ve just got to get up the nerve to appear in public in it. Maybe if I use it, I can shrink my stomach to the point where the swimsuit becomes more flattering! 😀

Then we hit the Walnuts, where we had several targets in mind. The first was Wilkinsons where I wanted to stock up on multipacks of tights. I also got myself a half dozen ballpoint pens, and when I got home, I found I still had 3 left from the last time I’d stocked up! Never mind, I get through pens as I do the cryptic crossword from the Glasgow Herald and I do a selection of the Killer Sudoku puzzles from Killer Sudoku Online and this keeps the ink flowing! Stephen managed to add some items to the basket while we were in Wilkinsons as well, but chip-and-pin at the checkout was frighteningly easy. 😯

We managed to bypass Thorntons but next door is Julian Graves and that is a place I definitely can’t pass. I had a pack of aniseed balls and several packs of my favourite vanilla filled fondant sticks. I can’t find a link to them right now, but they’re gorgeous. 😛

Next in our line of sight was the 99p Shop. You can tell that we’re the last of the big spenders! 😀 I’m sure I found some nice Jalfrezi sauce in there last time we were there, but there wasn’t any there this week. 😦 That’s the trouble with such establishments: they pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap, but when they’re gone, they gone! They did have some cans of beef stew which looked like a useful addition to our larder shelf, so I had a few of those. I hope I like them, as I think I’ve got four to get through. Stephen will help me with them, though. Stephen found some compost starter at a fraction of the price that it costs in a garden centre, so we had a couple of boxes of that, and Stephen’s going to get around to putting our new compost bin into service. We’ve got a queue of curled-up lettuce, soggy cucumber, limp carrots and black bananas to start it off. 😎

By this time, we’d accumulated as many carrier bags as we wanted to carry, so we decided that it was time to head back to the car. Stephen had been meaning to put in an appearance in Biggin Hill at the Harris HospisCare shop to help with the heavy lifting, but we’d spent so long trawling the shops that he realised that he wasn’t going to make it. He also needed to visit his Mum, and as Orpington was already half way there, it didn’t make sense to return home for his vehicle, so we decided to both go and visit his Mum.

Our route took us past Polhill and we decided to go in there and have a look around. A coachload of visitors were just leaving as we arrived. People actually go on days out to Polhill! It’s got a good cafeteria and there’s a lot of retail space there as well. We phoned Stephen’s Mum from the car park to see if she wanted anything, and she did, but most of it wasn’t stuff that we could find at Polhill. So we went into Polhill on our own behalf. I like browsing in the shop at the front. I think it was originally a farm shop, but I wouldn’t describe it as that now. Funnily enough, they were also selling coriander paste, but I think I may have got a better deal at the Asian supermarket in Orpington.

Out in the garden tools section of Polhill’s extensive retail space, Stephen found a hoe attachment for a system he owns, so we had to pay for that on our way out. (The shop where I browsed has their own tills. I expect they run as a franchise within the complex.)

Then it was down the hill. All the routes heading towards Westerham and Sevenoaks go down a significant hill. I assume that the hill we went down is called Polhill. If you go through Knockholt, you go down Star Hill, while if you go through Biggin Hill, you go down Westerham Hill. Stephen doesn’t like taking his Reliant Rialto up Westerham Hill. It’s reasonably steep, and I think the Reliant won’t climb it in 3rd gear but 2nd gear is a bit too low. My Nissan 200SX sails up it in 3rd gear unless I get stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle, in which case even my Nissan needs to go down into 2nd.

We detoured into Riverhead to Tesco to pick up some things for Stephen’s Mum. We picked up some things for us, too, with the combined grocery bill coming to around £50.

Then we actually made it to Stephen’s Mum’s place! Minnie, one of the black cats, came out onto the footpath to greet us. Minnie seems to have adopted me, and I wonder whether she has learnt the sound of my car. We delivered the groceries and put things away. Stephen loosened the top on each milk container, as Jessie has trouble unscrewing them otherwise. Stephen tries to make sure that he loosens lids and caps of anything Jessie is likely to want.

We gave all of the cats a cuddle and then we came home. I’m not sure that you would describe the day as exactly “chilling out”, but I quite enjoyed it anyway.

The rest of the week could have been an anticlimax after all that, but actually continued to be really busy. I attended the office on Tuesday and then went out in the evening to a Beckenham Concert Band rehearsal. I am trying to attend rehearsals regularly for the Summer as I’ve signed up to do a concert in mid July and another at the start of August. When we get to the end of the summer, I’ll take stock and consider whether I want to continue attending regular rehearsals. It just wasn’t possible when I was doing the car commute to Basildon for my job, but now I’m London based again, I hope that I may have the capacity, and it’s a fun and enjoyable thing that I could be doing.

The musical activities didn’t stop on Tuesday. It seems that I’ve played as much in the past 7 days as I’ve played for the whole of the rest of this year, and on Wednesday I attended a Marlowe Ensemble play-through. This is held about every six weeks, when the regular ensemble members are augmented by players such as myself in order to attempt some larger scale works. We aren’t rehearsing for a concert: the aim of the evening is to borrow music from the library, play it through, and then return it. Our fare on Wednesday night was:

  • Beethoven – Symphony No.2 – 2nd and 4th movements, as we’d done the 1st and 3rd movements last time we met;
  • Weber – Oberon Overture;
  • Mendelssohn Bartholdy – Symphony No.3 in A Minor

I was fortunate enough to recruit the services of a second bassoon for the evening. I’d seen him the night before at Beckenham and found that he didn’t have to rehearse for the Hayes Symphony Orchestra this week, and he was pleased to come along. He was just glad that I’d warned him about the roadworks in Sidcup at present, or he would have had trouble finding the place where we play!

I did try using my one remaining cane reed, but it just wasn’t working well. I tried adjusting the wires with my pliers, but it needs more than that to get it going as a couple of notes were horridly unstable. I didn’t really think that my plastic reed was up to orchestra yet, as I haven’t been playing on this one for long and plastic reeds take time to mellow, but it was any port in a storm and with all the playing I’d already done this week, I’ve apparently gone some distance down the mellowing process, although I still don’t think it’s the equal of the one that split at about this time last year, which I’d played on almost exclusively for about six or seven years. (Yes, I did say years. I haven’t been playing a great deal, but the longevity of a plastic reed appears to be pretty good provided that you don’t abuse it.)

On Thursday, all I had to do was go to work, which was a bit of a relief! 🙂 We had our Monthly Staff Briefing in the afternoon, and I put my hand up and asked a couple of awkward questions, whose content I won’t go into here. I did get reasonably satisfactory answers, which was encouraging. I stayed quite late in the office and finished off the job I was supposed to be doing last week but got interrupted so that it slipped into this week.

Friday was another routine day in the office. Or in the case of a lot of people, I think it may have been a routine day at home. Friday seems to be a popular day for home-working and the office was a bit like the Marie Celeste. I rarely home-work on a Friday, but then the rationale behind my home-working is to break up my commute, so I usually have a day at home in the middle of the week. However, I have to admit that I arranged to work at home on the day most convenient to me this week, which was Wednesday, when the Marlowe Ensemble were starting at 7:30pm and my time was at a premium! 🙂

Posted in Beckenham Concert Band, General, Marlowe Ensemble, Minnie | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Book Review: Edward Marston – The Painted Lady

Posted by HelenEdith on June 25, 2009

(A Christopher Redmayne Mystery)

Christopher’s less than savoury brother Henry and three of Henry’s friends have been in pursuit of a beauty by the name of Araminta Jewell, and not even her marriage to Sir Martin Culthorpe will deter them.

Sir Martin commissions Jean-Paul Villemot to paint Araminta’s portrait, which is how Christopher Redmayne’s path crosses Araminta’s – as Christopher has been commissioned by the painter to design him a house in London.

When Sir Martin is found murdered in his own garden, suspicion falls on Villemot, but a number of people are convinced of his innocence. Chistopher has good reason to help Villemot prove his innocence as Villemot’s house won’t get built if Villemot hangs for murder.

Christopher and his Puritan constable friend Jonathan Bale set about investigating the circumstances of Sir Martin’s murder and endeavour to come up with a better suspect than the already incarcerated Jean-Paul Villemot. Their investigations lead them into some interesting places in Restoration London, but they do eventually unravel the mystery of what really happened.

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Beckenham Concert Band – NSPCC Concert at Halstead

Posted by HelenEdith on June 23, 2009

The Beckenham Concert Band performing at the St Barnabas Church Fete, 4th May, 2009

The Beckenham Concert Band performing at the St Barnabas Church Fete, 4th May, 2009

For a musician without a “regular” band, I had a busy weekend last weekend. Having spent Saturday in Maidstone rehearsing and then performing numbers from the movies with Maidstone Winds, on Sunday I had a somewhat more local engagement with the Beckenham Concert Band, with whom I played regularly for a number of years.

The Beckenham Concert Band provided part of an open air benefit concert for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which was held in the grounds of a private house in the village of Halstead, which is near Knockholt in Kent.

The band started arriving at 5pm, and we were in position in our marquee by 5:30pm. A singer kicked off the concert, after which the band played a programme consisting of:

  • Blaze Away
  • Sullivan – Pirates of Penzance numbers
  • The first two of Three Paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec
  • Symphonic Beatles
  • Blue and the Gray
  • Tony Bennett Unplugged
  • Instant Concert
  • Queen – “We will rock you”, “Another one bites the dust”, etc
  • Irish Rhapsody

After the band section of the concert was a complete, another singer performed.

It was an ideal early evening for an outdoor concert: dry and warm, but not too hot – and to make life easy for the musicians, there wasn’t even a gentle breeze to play havoc with our sheet music. I still managed to turn a page and end up with the sheet music in my lap once, but that was my own fault!

After leaving the venue at Halstead, I popped down the hill and called in on Stephen’s Mum. I took the precaution of taking some clothes to change into, as I just knew that the cats would want to sit on my lap, and it was better that I wasn’t dressed in my good black and white clothes for that!

Posted in Beckenham Concert Band | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Maidstone Winds – a Night at the Movies

Posted by HelenEdith on June 22, 2009

Helen Cockersole preparing popcorn for our movie-loving concert-goers

Helen Cockersole preparing popcorn for our movie-loving concert-goers

I had an outing with Maidstone Winds, who were in need of a second bassoon for a “Night at the Moves” concert at the Exchange Studio in the Hazlitt Arts Centre, Maidstone on Saturday 20th June.

We played a programme consisting entirely of film music:

  • Dambusters
  • Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
  • Hooray For Hollywood
  • Jurassic Park
  • Gladiator


  • 633 Squadron
  • John Williams – symphonic selection
  • Hymn to the Fallen
  • Anything Goes (Indiana Jones)
  • James Bond 007

The audience were appreciative, and I enjoyed the chance to perform in the venue, which is the smaller of the two main performing spaces in the Hazlitt Arts Centre.

We rehearsed for most of the afternoon, which gave extras such as myself a chance to see the music – and in my case, to decide which bits needed a bit of extra work, and which bits needed a bit of simplification to be playable on one viewing. 😎

As the concert was “A Night at the Movies”, there was popcorn for the audience, and the picture shows Helen, the fixer (who makes sure that the right musicians will be there on the night) busy at the task of making sure that there was plenty of popcorn ready for our patrons to enjoy.

Posted in Maidstone Winds | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Denise Mina – Garnethill

Posted by HelenEdith on June 21, 2009

(The first Maureen O’Donnell mystery)

I picked this book up and started reading and knew that it was going to be an easy book to read. It’s a crime novel set in Glasgow, and either my year in Scotland taught me more local phraseology than I realised or this book is so well written that when it ventures into dialogue which you wouldn’t hear south of the border, it only adds to the reading enjoyment.

Maureen O’Donnell is an incest survivor who still sees a therapist. She also sleeps with a therapist, albeit not the same one. Unfortunately, she discovers him in her living room, tied to a chair, and with his throat cut.

She gets taken in for questioning and released, but is so worried that she’s an obvious candidate for blame that she feels that she needs to try and find the real killer in case the Police don’t look past the obvious.

She finds some very murky goings-on in the process, and decides that she must deal with them herself.

The action culminates with a trip to the Isle of Cumbrae, off the Clyde coast from Largs, which is an old stamping ground of mine from the aforementioned year spent in Scotland. I did think that Denise Mina got one thing wrong about her trip to Cumbrae, as she referred to the ferry turning around and backing in, and even back in my day, the ferries didn’t do that. Back then, one was roll-on-roll-off with a door that lowered at each end, so no need to back anywhere, while the other was an ex-landing craft with one door at the bow. Those two ferries have since been replaced by two larger RORO ferries, so I think that unless the ferry service to Cumbrae has been degraded recently that a little more research was needed!

Apart from that one possible inconsistency, this was a good read, albeit with an ending that I wasn’t expecting. The inside of the back cover indicates that there are more books featuring Maureen O’Donnell, so it looks like I’ve found myself another series to read.

Posted in Book Review, Crime Fiction | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Let the bells ring

Posted by HelenEdith on June 20, 2009

St Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames Street, London

St Magnus the Martyr, Lower Thames Street, London

There have been at least two occasions recently when I have been walking to London Bridge Station to catch the train home and have heard church bells.

The first time, I thought that they were the bells of Southwark Cathedral, carrying across the Thames, but then I realised that the sound was coming from much nearer to The City and pinpointed them as being from St Magnus the Martyr on Lower Thames Street.

I hadn’t heard bells from there before, but put that down to just not having passed by at the right time to catch the bell ringers practising, but that was before I visited the church’s website St. Magnus the Martyr Church and the dedicated bell site Returning a Ring of Bells to St Magnus the Martyr, City of London.

The bells of St Magnus the Martyr have been silent since 1941, when a peal of 10 bells was removed to the Whitechapel Foundry for safekeeping during WWII. They never returned to the church and were eventually broken up. Now, more than 60 years later, the funds have been raised and a new peal of 12 bells was commissioned earlier this year.

London may be one of the greatest cities in the World, but hearing the bells of St Magnus the Martyr pealing from Lower Thames Street as I walk along King William Street on a balmy summer evening somehow negates the traffic and the press of humanity and transports me to a much simpler place, where a great city has taken on the charm of a village.

Posted in General, Music | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Sharon Sala – Finders Keepers

Posted by HelenEdith on June 18, 2009

I enjoy Sharon Sala’s work very much and picked this one up in the library and checked it out without looking at it much beforehand. It turns out to be one of her earlier novels, and doesn’t have quite the element of suspense about it that her later romantic work possesses.

Anyway, I breezed through it, even if it was a bit boy-meets-girl and not much else.

The boy is Joseph Rossi and the girl is Molly Eden. He’s an architect and she’s a florist and they live next door. They meet for the first time when Joseph’s son Joey finds his way through the hedge between their properties and decides that Molly is “momma”.

Molly doesn’t make quite such a good impression on Joseph’s secretary, and the main spanner that gets thrown in the works originates with the secretary. However, as happens with this type of story, it all works out well in the end.

Posted in Book Review, Romantic Fiction | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Large Purchase, or how Stephen’s eyes were very nearly larger than my car boot

Posted by HelenEdith on June 16, 2009

I've folded the handle down, but it's just not enough

I've folded the handle down, but it's just not enough

Stephen and I went to the Wrotham Steam and Vintage Classic Rally last Saturday. As well as the usual attractions of steam engines, tractors just like Daddy had from the 1950s onwards, stationary engines, and classic cars and bikes of all ages, Wrotham boasts a considerable number of stalls. In fact, there’s an alley there which resembles a well-organised car boot sale.

I spotted a cat carrier, which we paid for and promised to collect later, but I quickly gravitated towards the arena to view the classic tractors being paraded, while Stephen lagged behind in the area where money could be spent, and didn’t surface up near the arena until about an hour later; and when he arrived, he told me he’d bought a lawnmower. 😯

I was a bit sceptical about a purchase that large fitting into the boot of my Nissan 200SX, but Stephen was absolutely confident that it would fit.

When we started getting footsore, we decided to visit the burger van for some sustenance and then visit the car to have a sit down. We collected our purchases (once we’d found the right stalls 🙂 ) and took them back to the car, too.

That was when the fun started.

My misgivings about inserting a lawnmower into the boot of a sportscar were borne out when Stephen folded down the handle of said lawnmower and tried to load the implement into the boot without any success. The handle simply wouldn’t fit through the hole that is the aperture into the boot of a Nissan 200SX.

That's the idea! Undo the brackets so the handle will lie a bit flatter

That's the idea! Undo the brackets so the handle will lie a bit flatter

So it was on to Plan B.

While I stood guard over our marooned lawnmower, Stephen went back to stall alley and purchased a shifting spanner for a very reasonable price. So armed, he returned and proceeded to dismantle the brackets that the handle attaches to. They were conveniently held by two nuts each. [No comment about the one who purchased a sports car and the one who expected to stow a lawnmower in the same. 😀 ]

Look, no brackets. It's bound to fit now.

Look, no brackets. It's bound to fit now.

Soon the lawnmower, minus its brackets, but with the handle still attached although now floating free, was ready for another attempt on the boot.

Hmmm... This is still bigger than the way into the boot. I know there's enough room if only I can get it inside...

Hmmm... This is still bigger than the way into the boot. I know there's enough room if only I can get it inside...

We were very nearly foiled again! The top of the engine stuck on the back of the boot and just wouldn’t slip inside.

That was when we thought to check the level control and discovered that we could get the wheels in much closer to the body.

Yes! That level control was a charm. Retracted the wheels and in she slipped!

Yes! That level control was a charm. Retracted the wheels and in she slipped!

Thank goodness for that! It went in – and the boot lid would shut, so we didn’t need to go back to stall alley and purchase an octopus strap.

However, we still had another large purchase to stow: the cat carrier. Stephen thought it most unfair of me to record his struggles with the lawnmower, so he forgot his disdain for Pentax and relieved me of my camera and told me that he was getting his own back while I got the cat carrier into the car.

This cat carrier *should* fit on the back seat

This cat carrier *should* fit on the back seat

It really wasn’t hard at all: front seat tilted right forwards, and just a little twist and the cat carrier was in!

Ah yes... Front seat right forward and turn the carrier just a bit to one side

Ah yes... Front seat right forward and turn the carrier just a bit to one side

I’m not sure about that little twist if Boonie or Sam had been inside: maybe if we have cat transporting to do, we’d better take Stephen’s Reliant Rialto with its superior load-carrying capabilities!

Posted in General | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Jane Yardley – Dancing with Dr Kildare

Posted by HelenEdith on June 13, 2009

This book came from the general fiction shelves in the library, and I found much of it to be rather pedestrian. It wasn’t that there was a lack of material: just that things happened rather slowly.

The plot of the book concerns Nina’s recently deceased father, who was a Finnish exile, and in whose locked desk Nina has found a score and parts of Sibelius’s Eighth Symphony, all in her father’s hand.

There are plenty of turns along the way – ballroom dancers and aficionados of the tango, plus Nina’s lifelong love of the actor Richard Chamberlain, particularly in his alter ego of Dr Kildare, which is where the title comes from.

We are drawn on a journey of discovery about the symphony. Initially, Nina wants to suppress it because she cannot see how it can reflect well on her father, which will in turn upset her mother; but then she starts to have doubts about its worth.

This was a well-researched book with a sizeable list of acknowledgements of sources at the end, and puts up a good if fictional case for why there never was an Eighth Symphony by Sibelius.

Posted in Book Review, General Fiction, Music, Musical theme | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »