Friday, 11 March 2011


Trying to escape the TV coverage of the apalling Japanese tsunami this morning, I thought I would make one last attempt to re-format my pile of useless old home-recorded DVD's.

I have never been able to do this on previous attempts (for reasons which will be obvious to anyone who has read my blogs), but decided to try another approach.

Having succeeded in at least viewing what was recorded on one of the older discs - something I've never been able to do before - it seemed like a good idea to just let it run until the end, while I was elsewhere in the house.

Going through the sitting room on my way to the kitchen I was suddenly brought to attention  by a glimpse of a long-forgotten face.

It reminded me of the days when I was singing with the New Opera Chorus and later The London Philharmonic Choir, when I was lucky enough to work with some of the then world's greatest conductors.

These were very different in their approaches both to the music we were rehearsing and in the way they communicated with us.

Among many others, two have always stood out in my memory, one Sir Colin Davis, a lovely man, a real singers' conductor with great charm and humour and a clear understanding of what was required from us
and the other, the fabulous George Solti, fiercely intelligent, volatile immensely hard-working and also with a uniquely charismatic approach to his singers and orchestra.  One penetrating look from those magnificent brown eyes and a demonstration uncannily accurate of what he wanted from us, and with the "rabbit  in the headlights" effect, we would do just what Svengali had asked.

These two utterly different people were among the four or five truly charismatic people I have encountered in a lifetime, the others were not famous but were equally compelling.  Is this a gift from God, a carefully  acquired skill/talent/characteristic, or is there another explanation entirely?
I don't know, I only recognize that it's as rare as hen,s teeth, and a force to be reckoned with.

The disc has now run its course and I have successfully formatted it.  One down, 12 to go!


  1. Wow, Ray, you sang with both Sir Colin Davis AND George Solti? What an interesting life you live! And fortunate to have the recordings to relive the memories.

    Yes, I think charisma is a gift from God, but it is a dangerous one that must be used carefully and wisely. Many charismatic people misuse this gift and hurt other people with it. All of us have gifts.... the quiet ones are harder to see than the bombastic ones, but they are still gifts.

  2. Enjoyed your post today Ray and would have loved to have watched the DVD with you. Wonderful to have had such memories flooding back for you to enjoy once again.. take care, Judyx

  3. Penny, Judy, thanks for joining me. Sadly none of the remainder of the DVD's were retrievable (or at lesast not by me). Now in the bin!
    My latest quarrel is with BT Yahoo which will not accept my password or let me onto the 'net'
    Oh how I hate machines!!