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A New Steinway, a 1714 Stradivarius, Mussels, Sparkling Wine, Sausage Rolls


Friday 3 October 2008

Rather stressed out and restless in the later morning and went to bed for an hour but this did not really help matters.  Left Eamonn in to DkIT for 8.30 a.m.  Wrote yesterday’s journal.  Rang Sorley in The Strand.  Pringle will be there on Sunday morning at 11.00 a.m.  I suggested to Sorley that Dessie and I would like a fried breakfast then.  "No problem!" Sorley replied rather expansively.  Dressed as yesterday except that I swapped my Manchester United grey tie for a rather loud yellow one with a psychedelic pattern in brown and blue.  Rosanna drove in to Clarke Station where we met Eamonn and she gave him the charger for his laptop.  He had left it behind him this morning.  The three of us traveled in the same carriage on the 3.20 p.m. Enterprise to Connolly.  Rosanna’s "social welfare" pass meant a free ticket for me too.  Rosanna and I traveled on the Luas to the Jervis stop.  Went in to Arnott’s on Henry Street and looked at shoes.  €200 is not the dearest for a pair of Barker shoes.  Could not find Lotts Café so we continued on to IFI where we sat down for a minute and I went to the toilet.  Walked on searching for Dublin Castle.  A girl rang the doorbell of the main hall and the caretaker emerged to confirm that that was the door to come to at 7.00 p.m. for the Irish Austrian Society reception.  When we returned at 7.00 p.m. he remembered us, "You’re back again."  In the interval I had a meal of chips and mussels ("Moules frites") and Rosanna a goat’s cheese and salad starter.  She had two glasses of house red.  Aisling who joined us around 6.15 p.m. had a latté and Paul a coffee.  I had also two small bottles of Perrier water and a coffee.  The total charged to my MBNA card was ~ €53 including a tip of €5.  The waiters were very different in personality.  French.  The blonde girl who approached us first got up Rosanna’s nose.  She was getting thick and wanted to leave.  In Chez Max you get the mussels in their shells with a white liquid cream sauce.  Rosanna’s mood mellowed as the meal wore on and she was delighted when Aisling and Paul turned up.  Paul told me he is able to play a few Beethoven Sonatas on the piano.  At the reception in Dublin Castle Rosanna and I sat at the side and did not get involved.  I had an interesting conversation with Kevin Farrelly a retired engineer living in North County Dublin.  He had spent most of his career abroad in different parts of the world including in "the white man’s grave" in Africa.  His wife – a French woman in bouffant hairstyle and long coat – was doing a little circulating with friends.  I had an orange juice and Rosanna had two glasses of sparkling wine.  At the interval in the concert I went out to the reception room and sourced a glass of red for her.  Hugh Tinney and Ensemble Wien played Dvorak Piano Quintet No 2 in the first half starting at 8.00 p.m.  The piano (a new Steinway?) was heard to good effect and also the viola.  The cello opened sweetly.  In the second half Tinney took a rest and sat down in the other end of the back row where we were sitting.  He is almost as good a clapper as I am!  Brahms Hungarian Dances 1, 4, 7.  Joseph Lanner Die Mozartisten and then five pieces by various members of the Strauss family including two encores.  In the second half I listened fairly intently to the lead violin.  A 1714 Stradivarius I thought it had a bright tone with a little "cry."  My impression of the Steinway was something the same – a bright forward tone with clarity and no huskiness.  Or maybe it was the key of the music or the way it was played?  I thought Hugh Tinney got on well with Ensemble Wien.  There was an appealing passage for the piano near the end of the Dvorak – a sort of hesitant, accompanied cadenza – and Tinney got the utmost support as he milked the passage quite beautifully.  In the second half the cello player was substituted by a double-bass player and, with a very light touch, he seemed to me to dominate the ensemble – and this is not just because he was standing up.  The optics were better in the second half.  I could see each performer clearly from the extreme back left corner of St. Patrick’s Hall whereas before the interval the first violin, the second violin, Hugh Tinney and his page-turner were all in a line from my point of view.  So I could see only the first of these and had a poor view of the rest particularly Hugh Tinney.  Rosanna had a glass of sparkling wine at her foot in the first half and added to this a glass of red for the second half.  We caught a taxi to Connolly.  €10 including a €1.50 tip.  The program cost me €5.  Hugh Tinney was celebrating his 50th birthday.  He was talking to a dark haired young woman as we walked towards the stairs so I did not approach him although I was longing to do so.  I was feeling starved with the hunger on the train which left Connolly at 11.20 p.m. and after a multitude of stops reached Clarke Station around 12.35 a.m.  Rosanna drove home without incident.  The house cold.  I ate corn-flakes and milk, washed my teeth, eschewed exercise and was delighted to get to bed.  I think Rosanna stayed up a little longer than me eating sausage rolls – I had one, too, before I got ready for bed.

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