Viva Vivaldi

I am sitting in my living room streaming a Vivaldi recorder concerto from my computer through a miniBlink Bluetooth receiver, equipped with a Burr Brown PCM5102 24bit DAC, to a tube pre-amplifier and two Class A monoblock tube power amplifiers, ending up in a pair of bipolar tower loudspeakers that cheerfully reproduce a 16Hz low C pedal organ note: a thoroughly delicious amalgam of technology and the baroque.

If none of that made any sense, never fear: it is just the preamble to a joke I heard in Italy when visiting the house where Vivaldi lived. It’s this:

Vivaldi was the only composer who wrote the same concerto 400 times. An Italian told me that.

R.I.P. David Jenkins

Avian celebrations would be premature however, since this David Jenkins was the Bishop of Durham who cemented his credentials as an authentic Anglican bishop by denying the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Jesus – among other things.

To distinguish between the two of us, a few years ago I wrote a song about Jesus’ resurrection called Risen Lord. Here it is, dedicated to the other David Jenkins:

Gratias agimus tibi

From Bach’s Bm mass. Posted only because it is the pinnacle of the musically sublime.

I think Karl Richter’s interpretation of Bach’s choral and orchestral works is the best of the best; I know some think that contemporary, supposedly more authentic, versions are better – but I really don’t care. I don’t suppose Karl Richter does either, since he is dead.

Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas to all.

A few carols, arranged for guitar by John W Duarte, played by yours truly.

Silent Night:

The First Nowell:

Once in Royal David’s City:

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing:

Away in a Manger:

O Come, all Ye Faithful:

While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night:

See Amid the Winter’s Snow:

The Father’s Love

I originally wrote this song for one of our daughters who was going through a difficult time. I’ve posted it before but here it is again, this time for a friend whose funeral we will be attending tomorrow.

He died of Alzheimer’s but knew the Father’s love well; he has now been welcomed through heaven’s door:

Love so strong, to give your Son to death; He knew no sin.
To open heaven’s door for us where we are welcomed in.

R.I.P. John Renbourn

I missed this in March: John Rebourn, an influential – to other guitar players – British guitarist died on March 26th, aged 70.

I spent much of my time at university trying to copy John Renbourn’s playing – with limited success, I might add. He would occasionally visit the smoky pub that my friends and I frequented and play; I always sat as close as possible to try and figure out what he was doing and later chat over a drink – usually about William Byrd, oddly enough.

The last time I saw him play was in Guelph a few years ago. Here he is in a recording made for the BBC:


John Renbourn – Bluesy numbers by kitsch