Mrs G, The Boy, and I spent the evening on Saturday at a lovely surprise celebration for one of our closest friends, my school music teacher.
It was the perfect evening. A gaggle of sparky, well behaved but grinningly rumbustious kids completed the next generation, with The Boy more than holding his own in deliciously subversive playing.
Stars winked and candles flickered as we shivered gently in the most British of ways, as gentlemen divested jackets to the shoulders of loved ladies. We now parents forgot our thirties, mortgages and experience of sliding down the razor blade of life. Once again were sixth-formers, but enjoying in our conversation the new, closer yet more mature relationship based on our memories and their pride that you only get with former teachers. Looking around, it was striking that their legacy passes on. Each of us, former pupils all, now teaches another generation of musicians, whether in a classroom, a rehearsal hall, or in an instrumental lesson. That’s unbeatable.
It was a night of lovely atmosphere, great hospitality, fun with old (and very old) faces. We ate, drank, reminisced and laughed under the stars. One of the warmest moments was another mutual friend, a superb musician and cathedral organist without compare, playing on the grand piano everything from Ivor Novello to the incomparable A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.
As the melodies washed over us I could not resist admitting to Sir that, despite his pedagogical efforts to inculcate in this once teenaged horn player a love of the Late Romantic, succeeding as he and others did together in a musical training that sent me to Oxford as a music scholar, I would still happily swap the whole of Mahler for eight bars of Rogers and Hammerstein. He took it in very good spirit. It was that sort of night. Cheers, Eric.