Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The marking is about to reach critical mass.  Added to the mock examinations, which take in virtually the whole school, I have media studies, art history and an exercise on question tags to mark.  On Monday there is a “Control” examination for the 3ESO – and so it goes on: exam, test, mark, meeting.

Needless to say I am getting more and more frustrated with what I see as almost totally pointless and educationally nugatory activity, but activity which requires my active participation, and I am thinking more and more of the hard earned money which a grateful government is lavishing on me to allow me a life of idle ease bathed in luxury.

The last bit isn’t (unfortunately) true or I would have been out of the doors of the school with a hop and a skip and a whoop of joy, but I am regarding the next 85% of the term with something approaching weary dread.

Now I am well aware that I am not alone in this attitude.  I know that the vast majority of my colleagues with some partial claim to sanity are thinking the same.  I know that the dead days of the middle of January are not necessarily the most conducive to positive thinking; that has to wait until well after Easter.  But, getting up this morning was a real struggle and going to work in the dark is not my idea of fun.

I wonder, when the days get longer and longer and I look back at this moan whether I will consider it merely January Blues or something more significant.  The payment at the end of the month (pittance though it is) also concentrates the mind!
I am unsure whether my mood was helped or hindered by the music to which I was listening while typing the preceding grumble.  From my amazing value box set of everything that Dvorak wrote I am listening to a favourite of mine, the Dumky Trios.  I got to know these on a Deutsche Grammaphon recording (bought in a sale) with a cover with some tastefully photographed feather on it.  I thought that they could best be described as “tea-room passionate” and I loved their domestic playfulness.  My new recording has a piano with more than a touch of honky-tonk and the whole things sounds as though it was recorded in the nave of an empty St Paul’s church.  The resonant acoustic gives it an almost symphonic sonority that, while not quite what I expected, does give a different dimension to very familiar music.  I wonder what other surprises I will find, especially in the later symphonies!
 Cover (Edvard Grieg Edition:)
The other box set of vast quantities of music that I bought in the same expedition to El Corte Ingles was that of the music of Grieg.  For such a populist undertaking the little booklet that accompanied the discs is quite candid about Grieg’s limitations as a composer for large orchestra and concentrates on more domestic elements in the music.  I have, therefore been listening to a whole series of chamber pieces and various folk music inspired compositions while I have thoroughly enjoyed and discovered that there are quantities of music that I know but could never have given a name to!  Always a pleasure!

I am inclined to go back to the shop this weekend and find out if there are any more boxed sets.  As there is an offer of buy two and get one free it seems churlish not to take it up and respond to new versions of things I know.  I do have the discs of other, older recordings to which to resort should any of the present slew of versions prove to be too outr√©.
Wednesday is regarded in our school, well, our department, well, by Chris and Myself as the “tipping point” of the week and we officially assume that the relief of the weekend is immanent.

It also looks as though the cold wintry weather that we were promised has not crystalized and while it is not by any means hot, we have had a degree of sunshine and the weather is still relatively mild for this time of the year.

Long may it continue!

Oh, and the American Quartet of Dvorak sounds much more conventional, though not as self-indulgently languorous as I like!

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