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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

My musical travels push the limits

From Lima to Frankfurt in five days

After Valaparaíso the next stop on my South American tour was Lima, Peru. The first morning I awoke there was Monday 22 February. For the rest of the week I was in a different location every day, ending up near Frankfurt, Germany, on the Friday. It was important to get plenty of sleep when it was available, and to keep calm when it wasn’t!

But first - Lima. I went exploring with a group of fellow artists for whom this too was their first visit. We were all taking a day off so it was a load of fun. Petra Casén – pianist, Alice Farnham – conductor, Nicky Martyn – comedian, Steven Whitfield – pianist and myself, all of us let loose in Lima! We drove in a large taxi through its’ long, straight streets many of them with ex-colonial Spanish houses in a good state of repair. Eventually we arrived in the large main square dominated by the town hall on one side and with trees and plants in the middle, thronging with local people and tourists. Off the main square were some curious houses and shops, in the Art Nouveau style reminiscent of Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain. All around there were lots of fully armed police with riot shields lolling about on street corners in surprisingly relaxed mood. Why, we were even able to have our photos taken with them!

Eventually, developing quite a thirst walking around in 25 degrees Celsius (and rising) we were on the look-out for a café al fresco, but not before trying to bluff our way into the main Post Office in process of refurbishment. No way, José - not even with me talking to the guard in Spanish telling him how important my friends were.

At the café in a side street off the main square conversation flowed freely between us, all of us joined by our common interest in and passion for the stage. We ordered some pisco, Peru’s national drink which is a delicious and clear brandy distilled from fermented grape juice. With it we had some empanadas, small baked pastries stuffed with beef, onions and olives. All of this was absolutely delicious. We warmed to our task, with plenty of laughter and banter, and asked the waiter to keep them coming (the empanadas not the pisco). So grateful were we to the courteous waiter, that after a lot of hand-shaking the girls among us gave him a fat kiss too.

Tuesday was my last day in Peru, and I was sad to leave that lovely city and my friends to embark on a long transatlantic flight arriving in dear old London on Wednesday. Struggling to get up on Thursday I went into town to rehearse with pianist Peter Cowdrey for our concert together in Germany. We worked on Boccherini’s Introduction and Fandango and Malcolm Arnold’s Serenade. That same afternoon we flew to Germany. The taxi driver who collected us at Frankfurt airport said:
“Last night it was minus 11 degrees.” We drove past snow piled up high next to the road. I remembered Lima with increased affection.

Carlos in Germany on Sunday 27th February

The next morning was Friday and we went to speak to and play for a class of 12 year-old children in a local school. They asked some thoughtful questions. One asked:
“What would you do if you were not a musician?” I think I will have to write another blog about it just to do that question justice, but not just yet.

Our concert on Saturday was a tribute to guitarist Julian Bream, part of the Gitarrenland Festival directed by the highly likeable and imaginative Wolfgang Weigel. I chose to play solo guitar music associated with him. Peter played some beautiful preludes of his own composition. We ended with the Boccherini and as an encore played my arrangement of Malagueña. Lost as to what to play for a second encore I started on Spanish Romance, Peter improvised a wonderful variation on it, and then we finished with a recap of Malagueña!

Sunday was a day off and together with Peter we went for a long walk in the morning across country to a huge castle in the distance, and freezing cold it was too. In the evening I attended a Festival concert called Orpheus Britannicus featuring Thomas Hobbs, tenor, and Gary Ryan, guitar. This was a wonderful concert by two brilliant young musicians, who conjured up atmospherically a world of British music from traditional folk song to lute works by John Dowland.

I reflected on my hectic week later that evening. A brief image flashed through my mind of my arrival in Lima the previous Sunday.

I imagined I could hear Louis Armstrong singing What a wonderful world.

Read more:
Lima, Peru

Peruvian food

Petra Casén – pianist

Alice Farnham – conductor

Gitarrenland Festival, Germany

Thomas Hobbs - tenor

Gary Ryan - guitarist

Watch videos of Julian Bream in performance

March 2011

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=418 .
© 2019.

1 Comment   »

  • Dear Carlos, I am so delighted to have discovered your website and blog through the latest Classical Guitar Magazine. As a relatively new student of the guitar, approaching Grade Three, I am discovering that there are not many people in this world who are au fait with the new tools of social communication which could be so valuable in promoting more awareness of the beautiful music people such as yourself create. So do keep going and I hope your success will encourage others to follow.

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