On French cheese
The last time I really worked with Ms. Emma Brown, Singer Extraordinaire, was for her Master's final exam in Composition (as I have described here, way back when).
I found it rather fitting that the next full concert we did together was in the very same church.
Yes, on Tuesday the 28th of June, I have gone toe-to-toe with the evil acoustic of the Hooglandse Kerk once again, and I'm pretty cheerful about how that turned out, really. We performed an evening of Grieg (subtitled "from mountain goat to forest sprite"), and we had a stupendously good time. Not in the least because we did the Goat Dance from Haugtussa, which is so endearingly ridiculous you can't help but play it with a stupid grin.
It was an amazing concert. We started off with Solveig's Sang, which is more haunting in an Cathedral acoustic anyway - and then as soon as I got to the Coda, the church bell started tolling, which made it sound like the universe was sounding poor Solveig's death bell.
We moved on to Haugtussa, interspersed with Lyric Pieces, and then finished up with opus 48 - or, the very first song cycle Emma and I have ever done together. Grieg's Swan was our encore, and given the repertoire preceding it, it served as the perfect finishing touch to a lovely short concert.
The reaction of our audience was certainly lovely. I don't think I've ever been so warmly received after playing; I think I may have spoken to every single person that was there. Granted, that wasn't that hard, since it was a closed setting housing about forty, but still.
As is usual at a closed setting, there was wine, and nibbles in the form of cheese and meats available for everyone who wanted them.
As is not so very usual, at the very end of the evening, it turned out the leftovers were for the musicians.
The cheese and meats were provided by Fromagerie Bon, Leiden, and seriously, it's worth a significant detour. I took home with me a pound of what I didn't at that time quite realize was edible gold, and spent the rest of the week in hamster-cheeked bliss.
So if you are in the vicinity of Leiden in the near future and you happen to like cheese:
You will not regret it.