Those familiar with Adelaide will know that North Adders is quite a hilly bit and there is a lot of big sky when you look south back over the city. And so it was yesterday, with a lot of red and gold trees against a purply-black rain-laden sky. I know this because I was there, heading for a big 19th century church made out of some sort of creamy stone to hear one of my unofficial godchildren singing in her Old Scholars' combined choir.
The idea of this young woman being an Old Scholar of anywhere is something I still can't get my head around, but then I'm still not used to the idea of her studying aerospace engineering, either.
I was not prepared for the smallness and exclusivity of this group -- fewer than 20 -- nor for their amazing quality. I knew she was good, but I wasn't quite up with how good she is. They sang Mozart and Vivaldi and Byrd. They were great. The two female soloists, two-thirds of a highly prized young Adelaide group called eve, were Emma Horwood (centre), the granddaughter of my old English and History teacher at Adelaide Girls' High back in the mists of time, and Greta Bradman (left), granddaughter of Sir Don.
And as I made my way home along the river through the Parklands, watching out for ducks, Music Deli began on RN. They had a live recording of Phil Manning, the Yearlings, and Vika and Linda Bull, all playing last month at a free concert in the Lameroo Memorial Hall. I was reminded again that quality trumps genre every time, and that Byrd, Mozart and Vivaldi would probably all have really enjoyed it.
The choral concert, mainly a bit of homage to Vivaldi by way of a change in this Mozart-saturation anniversary year, featured a program with some information about him:
'Vivaldi was trained as a priest and ordained in 1703 ... He is reported to have sometimes left the altar during Mass to note down musical thoughts in the sacristy.
In Venice Vivaldi was revered more as a violin virtuoso than as a composer. His violin playing was "furious". A witness stated "... he appended a cadenza which really frightened me, for such playing has never been nor can be: he brought his fingers up to only a straw's distance from the bridge, leaving no room for the bow -- and that on all four strings, with imitations and incredible speed."
In July 1741 he died in Vienna, "of internal fire", most likely asthmatic bronchitis.'
I don't know about the asthmatic bronchitis, though. I think he probably died of internal fire.