Sunday, 30 September 2007
If you CAN have too much of a good thing....
....then this weekend hasn't been much proof of the fact! Two glorious concerts in a row. On Friday evening, Lieder by Brahms and Greig, performed faultlessly in the Duomo by Bernarda Fink, accompanied by Christian Koch. It was so good that there were moments when I could feel shivers running down my spine. Made even better by the fact that expectations had not been high, since the performance had been transferred from the Camposanto (it's our version of that depressing one-liner: 'and in the Church Hall, in the event of inclement weather....' ) and generally speaking the acoustics in the Duomo are quite wrong for that sort of thing. La Fink held it together marvellously, though......and the end result was sublime.
And then, last night, we had the Concerto Italiano performing Montiverdi Vespers - except not the 1610 version, as some of us had been confidently expecting, but a rather more obscure version - the effect of which, it was generally agreed, was absolutely mesmerising. The Laudate Dominum was particularly beautiful, as it rang back and forth across the nave, in a ghostly, ethereal echo of itself.
The Brancolis brought down a charabanc-load of house guests for the occasion, a collection of poor unfortunates who had been 'persuaded' to 'volunteer' their services (and I use the words advisedly) for the good of the Brancoli vendemmia........although, in practice, the weather has been such that by the time they'd all arrived in Brancoli, the grapes had already had to be collected in - probably to the great relief of all! Before last night's concert, we dined on Rabbit & Lemon Terrine (made in August, and gently maturing in the fridge ever since), followed by involtini of Leek & Parmesan, with Braised Lettuce, and then Pear & Chocolate Tarts with Chocolate Ice Cream . The high-spot of dinner, though was the glorious Sicilian dessert wine - a 2005 Ben Ryé - generously provided by the guests, which not only tasted like bottled sunshine, but had the additional merit of coming from Donnafugata, the estate in Santa Margherita di Belice where much of The Leopard was set, and even where Zefirelli filmed it......
And possibly the best thing about it, is the fact that we drank less than half of it last night - and since it's already open, we have no choice but to finish it off tonight.
What was it again about 'too much of a good thing?'........
Tonight's Dinner (Dario is coming, to ponder, over a glass or two, his future career as a globe-trotting paleo-pathologist....):
Cozze e Vongole Stufate..
Spit-roast Chicken, with Leek & Fennel
Tartes aux Pommes