Archive for the ‘James Macmillan’ Category

Lots of things

Lots of things have taken place since I last posted. Dave had a birthday, we had a mouse infestation, our heating went out for two days,we took a trip to Boston, I finally got a new rug for the living room, my Dad came for a quick visit, and we had/are having a snow storm. Enjoy these pics from (some of) the aforementioned events.


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Someone in this household got a very important letter in the mail yesterday. This someone was Dave, and the letter read:

Dear David,

I write to advise you that you are now eligible to graduate from the University of St Andrews with the award of Master of Letters Bible and Contemporary World with Distinction in the Dissertation.

Needless to say David is very very happy, and I am very proud of him. We are excited that we will be able to celebrate in style in January when we travel to Boston to hear the US premiere of Macmillan’s St. John Passion, which is the piece that Dave wrote his dissertation on.

On friday night we went to the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s performance of Samuel Beckett’s play Wating for Godot. Another perk of being part of the University community is cheap (usually $5) tickets for performances such as this, when tickets for the general public sell for $25 to $30. I had read the play for a class a few years back so was familiar with it, but this Harlem-based company’s “bracing and immediate” adaptation included such delights as a random cover of Billy Jean, dance moves included. The play itself is kind of depressing with it’s ecclesiastic themes, but poignant all the same, and laden with allegory.

Yesterday we had a very autumnal outing planned with a group of friends for someone’s 30th birthday. We were supposed to go pumpkin picking at a local farm complete with hay rides and maybe even cotton picking. I was pumped to say the least. Then the rain started. And didn’t stop. All day. So we opted for games and food at someone’s house instead. Cranium, which I LOVE, was one of the games we played. Despite my best efforts to enshroud my slight competitiveness in order to not demolish these newly-hatched friendships, I failed, and was found out. But it made for a fun and interesting game, which, might I add, my team won. And to top it all off I was introduced to someone at church the next day by one of these new friends as follows..

“Rachel, this is Hannah. She moved here a few months ago. She’s really competitive. And the best humdinger ever!”

Looks like this might be the start of a reputation in these parts. Oh goodness.

The trees are turning all kinds of awesome colors, it’s so beautiful! And here are some cookies that I made this past week: Pumpkin white chocolate.



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It’s been seven months. I met Mr. MacMillan in Glasgow in February; we had coffee and an interview at his home, and then he treated me to lunch at a restaurant in downtown Glasgow. I’ve listened to the piece (which is about 80 minutes long) probably fifty times in its entirety over the last several months, and have almost memorized the score. Writing about the piece has been inspiring, educating, frustrating, and oftentimes tedious. It is a magnificent piece of music. I hope to make it up to Boston in January to see the U.S. premier of the piece, and it is rumored that the composer is coming to Duke in 2011. It was like saying good-by to a family member when I had to send this  back to Boosey & Hawkes (it was on loan as it is  not released to the public yet):


My dissertation is finished and ready to be shipped off to St Andrews, first thing Monday morning. I’m going to have this tonight to celebrate:


This morning Han and I went to the farmers market. This time we had cash. And this time we bought butternut squash, among others.


Finally, last night we did what you would expect of any person who has just finished his dissertation on an obscure and esoteric modern composer and a Brit who grew up playing field hockey: we went to a baseball game. Go Bulls.



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