Looting The Advent Calendar —
A story with the little giraffe
The little giraffe is back. After it had been sleeping in its tiny transportation box for a week, I have finally found some time to help it struggling to its feet. It is indeed quite complicated to remember, which foot belongs to which side of the animal and I’m afraid, it has already grown accustomed to the fact thus far, that a left hand attached to a right elbow is akin a right hand attached to the very same elbow. Perhaps the brown stains are on different places each time, but that does not seem to bother the little giraffe in a discernible way.
Unfortunately the little giraffe could not listen to the rehearsals in Brussels. Rehearsing an orchestral piece always means: do not waste any time—at least, when the piece is too difficult for the orchestra to just sight-read it perfectly. Usually my works are not as easy and keep everyone busy enough. Alors, no selfies with the little giraffe, je suis désolé. However, there will be an audio recording of A Manifesto Mill available on this website soon, so you might wish to listen to it.
Rehearsing with an ensemble is very often far more unhurried. There is usually even time to discuss playing techniques or questions of notations directly with the musicians or try out two or three different versions of one section. As you can see, the little giraffe enjoyed the Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles playing four pieces of contemporary music in Mons at a very nice venue called Arsonic. The place used to be a firewarden once and was inaugurated as a concert hall in 2015. We have experienced a wonderful concert there on November 30 that was well-attended—roughly 100 people joined the event which I found definitely remarkable. It also meant for me to speak a lot of French. Most unfortunately I am not very familiar with the very language. Wallonia is a French-speaking region and the primary language is used in conversations rather than English, though.
What has happened since then? On December 1 Advent started. Along with St Nicholas the famous 24 days every dentist is overwhelmingly looking forward to are now being counted down. By the way, this was the last photograph of St Nicholas seen alive. It was taken on December 8. We tried to make the little giraffe look a wee bit Christmassy as well and had St Nicholas passing his sash on to it. For the little giraffe, the tiny bell proved somewhat heavy, but finally she could bear the chocolate bishop’s burden. Thankfully, because the latter is no longer among us.