Susie and I are in the last stages of preparation for our trip to Paris on Monday, so I am even less inclined to deep thoughts than usual. This morning, a good deal of my brain during my walk was devoted simply to surviving the cold -- 19 degrees when I started at six a.m. I spent some of the walk working out in my head how to play a troublingly difficult little passage in the first movement of K424, the second Mozart violin/viola duet that I am now studying -- a pair of very quick little trill runs that make my brain freeze up. I decided that if I simply treat the passages as two series of thirty-second notes, it will be easier to play. As soon as I finish this post, I am going to see whether I am right. As I just observed to Susie, I am in perpetual awe of professional violin and viola players. They in turn, it is my impression, tend to take a rather prosaic view of their skills, rather like mechanics, and think it is really hard to write books, which for me is easy.
The thing that most non-musicians get wrong is supposing that the skill is all in the left hand, with the fingers flying over the strings, whereas the real secret to great string playing is in the bow arm -- the right arm, if you are not Cary Grant in Indiscreet.
I shall as usual continue to blog from Paris. I am looking forward to my Paris morning walks, some of which I have described in detail in past blog posts. I shall be curious to see whether the big ugly stands in front of Notre Dame have been taken down. They were erected to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the launching of the construction of the great cathedral, which took more than a century to complete. A friend who sometimes sings in the cathedral choir told me that the Monsignor in charge of the celebration got the brilliant idea of offering indulgences to devout worshipers with a little spare change. Considering how that worked out for the Church in the sixteenth century, one might think there would be some hesitation about that idea, but like the Bourbons, the lords of the Church have "learned nothing and forgotten nothing."