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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Today's big project - accompanying a Grade 8 singer

Cat and Julie with DavidThe last musical challenge that I had in mind happened today. A lively friend of Helen Lunt's, Julie, asked me some time ago if I would accompany her Grade 8 singing candidate Cat in the Associated Board exam today.

We had a few rehearsals - all too few - and today Cat came to collect me at noon and drove me, beautifully, to Chard Baptist Church where the exams are being held.

We arrived in good time, and were able to have a run-through in the church hall, where there was a perfectly acceptable piano.

One of the songs, Schumann's Widmung, is one that Helen and I have performed. Helen sings it in A flat, and at a speed that I got used to. Cat's book has it in G flat, the key with 6 flats including C flat, and Cat takes it much faster than Helen. It was fine, and the examiner after the song said "Thank you. You do realise what you are putting your accompanist through?" So I felt appreciated!

Anyway, it was good to have been able to fulfil that promise. I think Cat (on the left in the photo) will have done very well.

We had most interesting conversation in the car. We had both taken A level English Literature at the Strode, but with different teachers, and we shared our love of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and of Wordsworth. I told her some of the stories of my family and she told me about her father's achievements and about her grandmother with a fund of family anecdotes. When I said I'd been listening to recordings of my Mother made by Robert 25 years ago, and urged her to record her grandmother, she thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, we got on like a house on fire, and I am so glad of the opportunity to have got to know her a little. Thanks, Cat, and thanks, Julie.

To be honest, the physical effort in playing the harder piano parts is now noticeable. I'll have to think carefully what else I want to play and possibly record.


  1. I really enjoyed reading this - Cat is my daughter and has worked so hard with Julie to get to the point where she felt able to take the grade. I know her experience was heightened by your accompaniment, she spoke warmly of you and is so pleased to have spent time with you. Thank you. Judy Chapman.

  2. Thank you, Judy. It was my privilege.

  3. Hello David!

    I hope you are feeling well and that you have been enjoying yourself since our last meeting.

    I was in a car accident this Sunday, unfortunately a young girl drove straight into the back of my old school lilac mini so I was unable to get home as I am now suffering from whiplash.

    So long story short, Julie phoned me because I couldn't attend a lesson and informed me that I passed the Grade with Merit!!!

    I am so so SO grateful for all your help.

    Thank you.

    Best wishes.

    Cat xx

  4. I am so glad you got your pass, Cat. It was a pleasure to play for you. Hope the whiplash pain goes away soon.