May 2007 Archives

Plumbing the depths

OK, it's a bit childish, but I thought this was quite a funny number plate for a plumber. Nothing to do with music, IT or dance, but I was keen to get another entry in for May before it ended. The month of June is going to be dedicated to music & dance, so it's the last chance for some random silliness.

Thank you, Mobile Cycle Service!
Picture it - two miles from work on the Friday morning before a bank holiday, and the back axle on my bike snapped. On the 50-minute trek from Wandsworth common to Battersea, I had plenty of time to consider the options - take the afternoon off to get it back to the shop in Earlsfield which I know will probably do it overnight. Spend the morning ringing round bike shops near Battersea, who - if they do repairs at all, probably won't touch it until at least Wednesday next week; cancelling my lunch date and walking the bike there won't be fun either. Leave the bike at work til Tuesday, and deal with it then - and be bikeless over the bank holiday and Tuesday morning. It all sucks, whichever way you look at it.

The day that started out so badly ended on a high, after I discovered a brilliant mobile bike repair service that solved all my problems in no time at all and restored my faith and wonder in human nature, bikes and Londoners. When I got to work I googled 'mobile bicycle repairs', found Mobile Cycle Service, got straight through to Dan (pictured here repairing my bike on site at work) who asked a few questions, arranged to fix it later in the afternoon for a very reasonable price, turned up with a car full of tools and parts, did the job quickly and expertly, and tuned up the gears while he was at it. Nice bloke, fantastic service. Here's my tip - put the numbers in your phone now!

souvenir.jpgFor year's I've been intrigued by the music for the female variation from Le Corsaire (the one with the Italian fouett├ęs at the end), noting that just very occasionally, you see it attributed to Anton Simon (1850-1916) rather than Riccardo Drigo who is the acknowledged as the composer of the pas de deux as a whole. How could one of the most famous solos in the ballet repertoire be so frequently misattributed?

When I wanted to refer to this solo in an article I wrote in 2000 ("Can I have the wrong music please?") I just risked it and called it Anton Simon's Souvenir de Bal, even though I had never seen any proof that this was true, just a single reference on a CD inlay card. The British Library has a book of parlour pieces by Anton Simon which would have settled it one way or another, but it's now 7 years since I wrote the article, and I've never found the time to go there, and search as I might, I've never come across a single piece by Simon anywhere.

And then, I just stumbled across it, literally, as I was sorting some books out at home. (To the torment of friends, family and significant others, I hoard second hand music. I started when I was about 6, and I still can't stop myself). I'd spread the contents of my shelves on the floor to put it into rough alphabetical order, and tripped over an album containing a number of pieces by East European composers, published around 1916 by Edwin Ashdown. Flicking through it to see whether this was a centimetre of shelf-space that I could reclaim for something better, I noticed a Berceuse by Anton Simon. Was there any chance, I thought, that the Souvenir de Bal was in here too? And blow me down, there it was - it's been on my shelves since I was a child - I probably played it once before I knew what it was, if you see what I mean.

So here's a scan of the first page, for the two or three other people in the world that might be as interested as I am to see the proof on paper at last. All credit to the people who've created some marvellous pages on Amazon and Wikipedia and given Simon his due.

Ballet on CD: A guide for performance and listening
MrLopez's pages on Petipa and other topics at wikipedia
Another page by me on things I'm glad I didn't throw away

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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