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  • Writer's pictureNigel

The Creation 創造 *

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

2022 年 9 月 1 日

🔴STOP. You will need headphones for this post.

I had a very slow Saturday last week. Got up late, tidied up my desk and.....yes, my eye fell on this. A tape recording of a concert which I had sung in when I was a mere 27 years old.....Now when you have a birthday you celebrate, right? but you are also allowed to reminisce aren't you? I had indeed a birthday this week. So I decided to step back in time and listen. I first had to run the tape through Audacity (a sound recording software programme), and see if was worth listening to. It seemed to have survived the years. I even found the original at those ticket prices....!このコンサートで歌ったのは27歳の時.

Haydn's Creation, sung in German! other words Die Schöpfung (* n.b. I had various suggestions for the Kanji for this, but opted in the heading for a short title that would fit a phone format 創造) . Why we sang it in German I do not know, but it all came back to me as clear as yesterday. There I was, standing behind the English Chamber Orchestra in the Barbican Hall in London, singing in a choir called Pro Musica. Yes, waiting patiently for a cue from the conductor for our next chorus entry. Not that the waiting was uninteresting. Far from it. I was profoundly moved by Haydn's music. I could see how the conductor, Jeffrey Tate, sent sharp looks to all corners of the orchestra, inspiring the musicians to give their very best - in tone, in dynamic, in everything. You could see that they liked playing for him. Yesterday I looked him up online, and was sad to read that he died 5 years ago. But he gave me something - the memory of a wonderful concert. I had sung in many choirs in London by then, but this concert, relayed live on BBC Radio 3, was special. Here is a small excerpt from said tape: The sun is created,🌞 and rises for the very first time ......(I'm sorry the sound is not great, but we are pre-digital here)........but what a sunrise....what marvellous orchestration!!!!!! The woodwind enter seamlessly one after another, almost like the beginning of a Palestrina Motet......Now grab your 🧏‍♂️headphones.....初日の出...but the first sunrise in the history of the world......聞いてください

Haydn based his text on Milton's poem Paradise Lost, interspersed with biblical quotations. At this moment it could just as well be depicting the emergence of the Sun goddess Amaterasu (天照大御神, 天照大神) from the heavenly rock cave.....She being the most important Shinto deity in Japanese mythology. The land of the rising sun.

More was to come. Shivers ran down my spine as I listened to the bass, Gwynne Howell (what a voice!), describe the creation of whales and other swimming creatures of the deep sea. All of a sudden the violinists sat back whilst the violas and 'cellos took centre stage. I shall never forget this moment. Here was Haydn revering Bach - it was an incredibly sombre, serious moment "go forth and multiply......" sings the bass. During rehearsals we had never heard these bits, concentrating of course on the choruses.....I was nonplussed......keep those 🎧 headphones on......!深海で最初のクジラと魚が泳ぐ........

Again apologies again for the sound quality. Who knows, a friend of mine probably taped this from the radio back at home. No streaming in those days.....You had the choice of two filters: Dolby B or C, whatever they were........😉


Train or Car? 電車か車か? When planning a day out these days there should be no question. Train. But sadly, the 9€ ticket in Germany has almost been too popular, and has led to crowded, delayed train services. Not to mention that they are ideal breeding grounds for Covid. So on Sunday out came the old Audi - a 10 year old climate change suspect, but unfortunately most comfortable to drive. A solid rumbling German conveyance built to last at least another 10 years.

Accompanied by a friend, I set out for Bad Münster am Stein, a little spa town on the river Nahe south of Bingen. It took a good hour to drive there, but it was worth it. The Nahe is a small tributary of the Rhein, and winds through steep wooded valleys, occasionally revealing startling outcrops of reddish rock. Ideal sites for crumbling medieval castles. ナーエ渓谷でのハイキング.....

........from where you would catch a glimpse of Bad Munster below. There are two rather strange things to point out in the following photo - first the Spa Hotel - built in the 1930's, and secondly the long oblong structure. This is a "Gradierwerk". A towering wooden structure where mineral water from underground is pumped up and distributed along the "roof", then allowed to filter and trickle down the walls. This creates a sort of mineral, salty type mist, under which you can sit and inhale. It smells like the sea and is deliciously cool.

A close up of a Gradierwerk...a Graduation Works.....

We took a winding rocky path high up above the river, brushing past small sturdy oaks, looking surprisingly green despite the long drought. 干ばつにもかかわらず、オークの木は緑です.

......and eventually arrived at Schloss Altenbaumberg. Next to the medieval ruin stands this newer Schloss, which has a nice terraced restaurant. Just our luck that they were on holiday this week, so the massive wooden doors were firmly closed. Wonderful view though レストランは閉まっていましたが、景色は素晴らしかったです😀.

It seems that wherever you find castles or monasteries you find vineyards - and therefore wine. I wonder why 😄. Later in the day we walked under the shadow of Schloss Ebenburg. I believe you can eat there as well. You never go hungry in Germany, that's for sure......

A little further on, crossing the River Nahe (en route to a much-needed Ice cream Café) this idyllic scene caught my eye.....the river was so low, that it was safe for children to paddle across it at a low weir....and, surprise, surprise, a notice informed us that William Turner had been here, putting these idyllic scenes on to canvas. 👉

Well I wonder where the water for the river Nahe comes from. We haven't seen any real rain in Hessen for about two months. Result? a brown, parched field of grass. But here, near Langen, there were some extraordinary patches of colour to be seen. Obviously sweet pea et. al. don't need much water.....これらの花はあまり水を必要としません.

and I wonder what sort of wine will come out of the year 2022.......あまいワイン?


Sometimes I have fun with Google translate. I pick up my phone and talk to it. It seems my Japanese pronunciation is pretty bad, 私の日本語の発音は悪いです.... for here all I wanted to say was "I always put my wallet, phone and keys into my bag". Google translate said this:

It insisted that I am in the habit of carying Sake (ie alcohol) around. All I wanted to say was "Kage" (keys). Honestly. What next. Maybe I was under the influence of alcohol when reading the text? I had only had one beer - maybe Google translate can smell your breath....😮


I think a fitting Kanji for this week is Music. I just dusted off my brush and tried's the result......The first character means "sound". The second character is "enjoyment, or fun"...what better way to describe music! おんがく🎶 音楽.


I send out this blog pretty randomly to whoever I think might be interested. Some of you have subscribed (if you are on your mobile then open the menu at the start), which means you get a deluxe notification via email. Thank you! However, if you don't want this, don't hesitate to tell me and I shall take you off the list. No problem.

この投稿を読んでいただきありがとうございます。 新しい投稿のお知らせを受け取りたい場合は、上部の購読フォームに記入してください。 ありがとう!Nigel.😊


And before you go, back to "The Creation". Here we are singing about the "A New World" Ein Neue Welt, which has been created.........新しい世界




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