Wednesday, 28 December 2011

My three favourite composers and remembering 2011

There are pieces of music which I can hear over and over again and always love because they evoke memories of my childhood. Not to say that I do not have other favourite composers, Shostakovich, Eric Satie, Mahler, Bach and Cécile Chaminade.
But my three favourites are French, Claude Debussy (1862-1918) who composed Peleas and Melisande, my favourite opera, Maurice Ravel (1875-1935) for Le Tombeau de Couperin and Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) for Le Dialogue des Carmélites and his piano concerto.

They are all modern composers and I simply like their musical style, it makes be dream. Which brings me to reminiscing.

A few more days and we will be into 2012. Certainly 2011 was a year of change for us. We did go in January to Padova and visited this great Italian city, full of incredible art treasures not to mention St-Anthony, my mother's favourite Saint, then to Innsbruck and Salzburg, we stayed at the Hotel Bristol while we attended the Mozart Week and a short visit to Vienna. We also managed to attend the Venice Carnival, well worth seeing, though it can be cold in February, but we were lucky and had lots of bright winter Sun. Then in March I celebrated by 55 birthday and my 30 year of service with a wonderful dinner party in Rome and my friends Cathy and Collette travelled from abroad to attend the party. We visited Siena in early May, a not to be missed city in Italy. We then toured by car Sicily in May from Palermo to Catania, discovered many wonderful dishes and wines in every city we visited. We saw the Royal Canadian Air Force in Trapani. In Marsala we discovered more wonderful Sicilian specialties and we also visited some wonderful sites. Saw magnificent ancient Greek temples in Agrigento. We were very impressed with the beauty of Sicily and its wonders. Then in early June we went to Ravena and saw such wondrous mosaics, the city is renowned for it. On the 22 June we packed up and spent the next 4 months living in suitcases in what can only be politely described as a very stressful time which could have been averted had management been a little more thoughtful of its employees.

Then in June we attended the season closing of the Canadian Club in Rome at a wonderful cocktail party of the roof of the Hotel Minerva by the Pantheon to say goodbye to our friends. Not to forget the delicious dinner party Linda and Nazareno gave us at their home in Capena. Linda was so worried we might not like what she had prepared, everything was great and both of them are great company.

Just before we left we went just for one day to Spoleto to see a tribute to our friend Professor Alberto Testa, one of the great Italian choreographers, with whom we spent our Christmases and Easters at the home of dear Simonetta and her family in Rome.

We were very lucky to find an apartment in Ottawa which suited our needs and met our expectations. By September it was time to reacquaint ourselves with a changed Capital on the verge of becoming a big city. Our old Friends have been wonderful and very helpful in so many ways. One of our first weekends back in Canada, JAG invited us to the cottage, an old tradition re-instated with our return, then in September with visited Wakefield and the Grannies, in October Merrickville for Thanksgiving. In December our friend Cathy arranged for us to have dessert and coffee with Angela Hewitt and found her to be as charming as can be on top of being a great pianist. Also in December was a very special Birthday for Will with a special gluten free cake from Thimble. The puppies had to adapt to a new environment, Eleonora (Nora) discovered squirrels, Nicholas (Nicky) all kinds of new smells and grass everywhere to roll in and lots of dogs to growl at to our despair. With the fall being uncommonly warm up to mid-december and snow coming only at Christmas time, the puppies discovered they need boots and coats to go out. No, Rome was never this cold.

Yes 2011 was a charmed year, now the new Year and its new challenges, at least we are staying put this year, no transatlantic moves, at least that I know of so far.  

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