Well, I didn't expect to be woken by the soaring, silvery tones of Alessandro Moreschi this morning. But I was, thanks to a feature on the 'Handel and the Castrati'
exhibition which opens tomorrow at Handel's house in London. My normal alarm time of 7:45 woke me perfectly in time to hear Nicholas Clapton, the curator of the exhibition, being interviewed about it by Rebecca Jones. And when she asked him how we can know what the castrati sounded like, I silently cheered, knowing full well what had to come next.
Clapton does need a clip round the ear for saying very emphatically, "We are fortunate to have one
recording of one
castrato..." in response to this. As the man who, literally, wrote the book
, he knows a lot better than this, and obviously meant "We are fortunate to have one [set of] recording[s]..." But why couldn't he have said
that? I weep for the thousands of people who now freshly believe, as I did for so long, that this means exactly and precisely one
Still, the recording they chose to illustrate the point was well-selected: the Bach-Gounod Ave Maria
: and some of the best, most heart-rendingly beautiful snippets from it, too. To be sure, it was the old OPAL remastering of it
, not the infinitely superior Truesound one*
. But, nonetheless, definitely Moreschi at his stomach-punching best.
The feature can still be heard, of course, via Listen Again
: select the relevant bit, which is actually listed at 7:40, or else go to it directly
(you'll need RealOne Player).
As if that wasn't enough to make me sit up in bed, it was followed five minutes later with the news that a a new contraceptive pill
is being put through clinical trials which it's hoped will greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer and thrombosis associated with current pills, and
completely stop periods! It could have all sorts of other nasty side-effects, of course, but that's what clinical trials are there to find out. If it makes it to being released on the market, I'm there!
And then, when I got up and checked my post, I discovered that my sample of 'Pure Purple' perfume
had arrived! Hooray! They didn't send the girl from the ad, but they did send a nice postcard of her, so I can't complain.
All in all, then, this has to count already as a pretty good day!
--------------* Both book and recording have been on my mental 'To Blog' list for months. I have a lot to say about both, and I will get round to it. But my own book comes first!