Well, I'm back... (to quote Sam). Had a rather wonderful Friday the 13[SUP]th[/SUP], I must say! Met my good friend Buttercup and went to the Glenn Gould Foundation press conference announcing Jessye Norman as the recipient of this year's award. Viggo had quite a long speech introducing the other 8 members of the jury, and describing the process of reaching consensus as to who the winner should be. Each of the jurors also spoke, some very eloquently, and there were a few questions from the audience. Then Foday Musa Suso (from Gambia/USA) played a performance on the kora, a 21-string plucked African lute, an instrument his family had invented hundreds of years ago. The music was rhythmic and at times kind of hypnotic, and rather beautiful. He also sang with it at times. It went on for a good ten minutes, and I found myself really savouring the experience of being in the Galleria of the Royal Conservatory, with its high ceiling and its glass walls through which you could see the pale grey sky and the branches of the trees lining Philosophers' Walk, listening to the African music which this man charmed from his instrument, and sharing this magical experience with Viggo and Howard Shore.... :)
The event took about an hour, after which time they whisked off Viggo into the elevator. I think the days when people could easily talk to him after something like this are unfortunately long gone! But Howard Shore was still around so I got to talk to him for a bit – that was really nice. I had recently heard and liked very much his new song cycle L'Aube (The Dawn) for mezzo-soprano and orchestra which was premiered by the Toronto Symphony last October.
I will try to write in more detail what was said at the event – it may take me a while, so please be patient.
In the evening I went to the concert the Glenn Gould Foundation put on at Koerner Hall "in honour of the jury". I sat in the balcony above the stage, which actually gave me a pretty direct view of Viggo where he ended up sitting in one of the side loges. But at the start he and the whole jury were on stage, and again he spoke for a while. He also read two poems!
The first was "The Journey" by Mary Oliver: https://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/maryoliver.html#anchor_14788
The second was his own Hillside! :) Yes! We got a Viggo poem!
"We underestimate damage
done to the sky
when we allow words
to slip away
into the clouds..."
The concert featured Alma Deutscher, a 13-year-old child prodigy from England, who played a number of her own compositions on the piano and the violin. A fine musician, who played beautifully and captivated the almost full-house audience. Viggo seemed to enjoy the concert, which went from 8 p.m. to 10:30 (with a good half-hour of speeches at the start).