From a small corner of Cambridge, 7

You don’t want my thoughts on the current political mess. Here instead is a peaceful photo of St John’s chapel, taken from across Jesus Green on our morning walk. Once upon a time at this hour, there would rowers on the path, furiously cycling back from boathouses on the river. Now the early-morning Green is almost deserted.

So the university is planning for all lectures to be given online for the next academic year. Supervisions and small classes will continue, but no large group teaching for over a year from now. Not unexpected. After all, it is difficult to imagine anyone sensible wanting to be in an unnecessary crowd for a good while. But that decision close to home is a not-so-very-cheering reminder that we are indeed surely in for a long haul.

I imagine that we won’t be going to concerts, for example, for many months. It’s really good to see, then, that Wigmore Hall are planning a series of twenty lunchtime concerts (one or two performers and no audience, broadcast live and then available for video streaming) for a month starting next week.   I wonder, though, if they are trying to tell us something in having the series culminating  by rending our hearts in a performance of Winterreise? In the meantime, though, some unalloyed musical pleasure. The Chiaroscuro Quartet have released a disc of the first three of Haydn’s late great Op. 76 quartets. This is wonderful music and here played with same insight and verve and delight and (appropriately!) light and shade as the Chiaroscuro’s earlier recording of the Op. 2o quartets. Something, then, to relieve the gloom of these troubled days for an hour, and for more hours of repeated listening! Warmly recommended.

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