North & South in Franconia … part 2 … The Viola of Doom feat. Jitterfinger

Back from the morning matinee … 19 other students and I first performed two pieces together (a french 16th century “Pavane” and a nice summer piece “Dance of the Mosquitos”) … I was the only viola, there was one contrabass, three celli and the rest all violins. 13 students (including me) were then to perform solos (or duets, trios & quartets), so between a lot of classics (Bach, von Weber, Mozart, Uccellini, Küchler, Pachelbel, Leclair, Kabalevsky & Vivaldi) and a funny bavarian folk tune performed by accordion, 2 violins & a cello – I and the “Viola of Doom” screeched along the tunes of “I’ve seen hell” … for the really brave (and deaf) ones: have a look at the vid 😉

North & South in Franconia … I've seen Hell … from FrauVonElmDings on Vimeo.

I’m really a bit uncomfortable, when I know, that what I have to deliver can & will not be perfect … but as so much people told me recently, that they’re feeling “to old” to start learning an instrument at all, I thought it might really inspire and encourage folks to give it a try, when they see what can be done in just a half year of practising. I’ve started this “string-project” just before my 45 birthday in the last week of january this year. Since I read my first Sherlock Holmes novel when I was about 12, I wanted to play a stringed instrument … instead I played the Melodica for one year, wooden flute just by ear and then my gran taught me to play the piano. But as puberty hit fully I started worshipping the church of disco and quit playing music myself. But deep within this “dream of strings” remained. By hearing a viola/violin duet last year I fell in love with the sound of the viola and as I discovered that they also are available in different sizes (and as a lefthanded version) that was that. I’m really short and so I play a half size “leftie” viola now, which is the size of a full violin!

So this really happened to be my “RAndom act of kindness” for day 4 – inspiring others by not being afraid to let my own imperfectness show. As Osgood says in “Some like it hot”‘s final scene “Nobody’s perfect.”

PS: for the ones interested in art/architecture: the church dates back to the 12th century and was originally constructed as a fortified church, the choir in which I am standing was added around the year 1440, the crucifix is a late gothic masterpiece from famous Tilman Riemenschneider and the oil on wood painting on the left side of the altar shows Adam & Eve with an interesting detail: a large pointer-type dog is sitting in front of them (early 17th century, from Nuremberg painter Paul Juvenell d.Ä.).

PPS: my “RAndom act of kindness” day 3 was – again – not really noteworthy: I just did NOT set an ant trail on fire whom I discovered going past the front door … as long as they stay outside they can do as they please, it’s their garden too 😉


North & South in Franconia …

One month ago I involuntarily planted the idea in my viola teacher’s head of performing with me – as part of her music school’s contribution to the village’s summerparty – a viola-piano-duet of “I’ve seen hell” from the BBC’s miniseries “North & South“. You hear this piece while Margaret is writing to her friend in London about visiting John Thornton’s cotton mill, describing it like “I believe I’ve seen hell. It’s white. It’s snow white.”


I had looked for and found the sheet music for piano on the net (left) a while ago and transcribed it for viola (right). As you can see, I still need to write the numbers for my fingers on top of the notes – just in case of a total blackout while performing LOL … also I’m still struggling with the alto clef – as the only instruments I’ve played about 30 years ago were Melodica and piano which are both using the G clef …

Anyway, while listening to (my really poor performance of it back then) my teacher totally fell for it (haha) and suggested it should be my part of the performance…

Now tomorrow’s the big day and it feels a tiny bit unsettling. I will be performing 2 pieces together with the others (providing the only viola part, because the other viola backed out last week *sigh*) and then this duet with my teacher. It really is very motivating for me that she seems to trust me (aged 45 who only started learning to play the viola 6 months ago) of being capable to pull this off. I’m still not totally sure if this really was a good idea, but imagining playing/hearing this piece in the acoustic space of our beautiful 12th century fortified church is rather intriguing … so, wish me luck – I’ll get back to you, if the “Viola of Doom” and I were successfull 😉 … -> here.


St. Matthäus church … a real beauty of the “wanna-get-married-there” sort 😉 Pictures by “Aarp65” [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


meanwhile in Franconia … it’s my 27th wedding anniversary today

On july 21 in 1988 I married Mr Weber. The pic above was taken before we entered the registry office. In thought bubbles above our heads you might imagine anything from “where am I?”, “what am I doing here?”, “who is this?” to “have I gone mad?” 😉
The only people who had been informed of this event beforehand were my grandmother (to prevent her from a stroke) and our two best (wo)men. We had a nice day just fooling around a bit, followed by dinner at our favorite italian restaurant with our best (wo)men and their partners. On the next day we took off to my brother in law’s house in a small village in the Provence for our honeymoon. So, no party. Just us having fun with ourselves 😉
We met on may 27 in 1988, I moved in with him 2 weeks later and on july 9th we decided on a whim that we should get married: the shades of a jewellers shopwindow we were looking at, automatically closed while we were gazing into it and I remember us laughing and saying “Now this is not the shop we’ll buy our rings!” … and then we looked at each other and said “So, where WILL we buy the rings then?” … and that was that.
We have an age gap of pretty exactly 15,5 years which – combined with our “hasty” marriage – led a lot of people to think that a) I might be pregnant and b) this would not last for long.
Sorry folks. Still no kids (despite the furry fourlegged ones) and well, sticking together for 27 years means something I guess … especially if you consider the fact that we spent about three quarters of that time working 24/7 together. Well maybe that drastically limited the possibilities for straying 😉
And for those out there pining for something like that – don’t – it’s not as romantic as it seems in the long run 😉

“When a man opens the car door for his wife,
it’s either a new car or a new wife.”

(Prince Philip)