Coffee for a Concert

Coffee for a Concert, Oil on canvas

The above picture is of an oil painting of mine, inspired by a lunchtime concert I went to on Friday 2nd March at Charlton House. (It is also my second attempt at oil painting!) In France, it is habitual to have coffee after eating lunch, hence the title. I have already written a post involving classical music, where I tried as best I could to explain, to some extent, how classical music makes me feel. This concert was slightly different in a few ways, though no less enjoyable.

In my first blog post, I mentioned wanting to be a writer from a young age. Since then, it's come to my mind that, in a way, I have achieved my dream: I am a writer. I may not be published, I may not be known, but I write. It may not be what I expected as a young child, but it is just as significant. I write because I want to, not to get paid. It isn't always easy, and my unfrequent blog updates are a reflection of this, but I write. This is, as expected, linked to my love for reading. I read a lot. I think I read a little less than when I was a child, which is a little sad, though understandable, but I still read quite a lot, and this is where the story really starts..

Toward the beginning of August 2010, I went to a friend's house for dinner. She was preparing to move to a new flat, and so gave me a few books. One of these was From Where I Stand, which I started reading there and then. (I realise this is not the best thing to do when invited somewhere, and something I thankfully haven't really done since my early teens. I did stop after one or two pages.) We said goodbye at the tube station, and the minute I was seated in the tube, I started reading. I read till I arrived at Elephant & Castle, I read as I waited at the bus stop, and even read on the bus, but had to stop because of motion sickness. After arriving home and getting ready for bed, I continued to read, only stopping at around two chapters to the end because I was so tired, and it was really late. I finished the book the next day. A few days later I went to Cornwall and starting reading the next book on the train (A Note of Madness), and finished all of the books I'd been given during my holiday in Cornwall.

Sometime later, I became a Facebook friend of Tabitha Suzuma, author.

In February she posted about her brother's upcoming concert, which she would also be attending, and as it was free, and close, I decided to go.

This is what was played:

Prokofiev - Piano Sonata no.3
Bach-Busoni - Chorale Prelude no.3 "Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland"
Ravel - Alborada Del Gracioso
Vallee Des Cloches
Liszt - Mephisto Waltz no.1

The venue was lovely, he played in the old library in Charlton House, a lovely wood panelled room with a balcony going all around the room, showing off bookcases full of books. The playing was amazing, I even shifted in my chair at one point, leaning forward so I could see his hands move, as they were unbelievably fast during certain parts. I'm not very good at describing how classical music makes me feel, but during this concert I remember feeling a few different things. I was quite happy and excited, then for a little bit the music made me feel slightly sad and nostalgic, and I found myself imagining snowflakes falling against a window, slowly, then coming down in a flurry, the notes took me to high, solitary hills, then to a circus. After the concert, I felt nervous all over again, and talked a little to a friend who also happened to be there, which was rather funny. Also funny because later, I ended up having as conversation with Tabitha's mum, who had been sitting next to my friend, and we both thought it was quite an interesting connection.

Before that, though, I was feeling very shy, and it was only after Tabitha had left the room, and her brother Tiggy was close behind that I finally walked over, said something along the lines of "Um, that was really good, and, um, I was wondering if I could speak to your sister? (Um?)"
This is how I finally met Tabitha, who impressed me by remembering my name and how to spell it, and generally being really friendly and genuinely happy that I had come.
It was at this point that I had a conversation with an author's mum, sitting in the author's car, explaining how I'd come to read the books, and just general, random friendly chit-chat, which was made exciting by the fact that it felt so normal.

I then received a signed book - choosing From Where I Stand because it had been the first one I'd read, so was kind of special - and, feeling a little less shy, managed to ask for a photo, got two, sandwiched between an author and a concert pianist, and stayed in a bit of a daze all the way home.

Oh, and I thought I should mention that I quite liked the joke he started with..

If you liked this post, I encourage you to have a look at my page, The Tiger's Sterne. As always, any comments on the blog are much appreciated, as are any 'likes' or comments on my page!


  1. For some reason I didn't remember that you had a blog. I thought that "The Tiger's Sterne" was just your FB page. And on the mobile I can't get to the blog for some reason.
    This is an interesting post for me mostly because I recently had a very strong reaction to music at a modern ballet. I felt like I wanted to leave. It was making me anxious and quite on edge. Luckily it was a long and relatively varied concert so the anxiety eventually melted and transformed into awe watching the dancers move chaotically to the music. The whole production was based on the golden mean and the theory of chaos. And that's exactly how it made me feel. Chaos.

    You did a great job of explaining your feelings around the concert, the meeting and the books. You are a writer.

    Just one suggestion: repost your blog entries on the FB page. Create a link and post it on your page. It will remind me when you've posted again! :D

  2. Thanks for your comment!! I think a few people may not have noticed the blog.. I don't update it often enough, perhaps.. I do link to it when I do, though. :)
    Yes, music can bring out so many feelings, and, like sound, it can trigger memories, so sometimes it can be unpleasant.. I think I'd like to go see a ballet sometime..
    Thank you, I'm so happy you think I am a writer. :)


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