Wine, Women and Song

It’s that time of year again – not when one wears false beards and puts baubles on a tree, of course. Rather, it’s when one goes forth with a sturdy pair of secateurs into the rows of vines hanging perilously on steep sun-lit slopes and starts collecting the grapes – la vendemmia, in fact. This year, despite continued and persistent rainfall well into June and an unwelcome hail storm in August, the vendemmia may turn out to be a better than average one. Quality not quantity seems to be the key phrase and the vintage could be one of the best for some time.

I was able to help out in a local friend’s vineyard yesterday and, though it is very much a “Mickey Mouse” concern (as my friend emphasises) his results with the red beverage are improving each year.

It’s anyway a wonderful way to spend a pleasant time and there is always a tasty lunch under the shade with a nice view and a couple of year’s old vintage to round things off.

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We’ve discussed the wine. As for the women: they appear when they are either Italian teachers helping out with the grape-picking or they are part of a choir, which is where the song comes in.


Beethoven’s Mass in C major (not the famous one but that composed for Prince Esterhàzy in 1807 when Joseph Haydn was getting a bit too long in the teeth to undertake the task of supplying a Mass for his patron’s wife’s name day) is one gigantic song dedicated to the ideals of brotherhood and humanity and written with the warmest sincerity and humility.

I will not say anything more about the late afternoon’s performance and performers, which took place in the 11th century church of San Michele in Foro, Lucca and celebrated San Michele’s own name day, as it will be described in fuller detail at that choir member’s web site at except to present a snippet from the Credo

and to add that choir, soloists and orchestra were fully worthy of the deeply felt emotions of this wonderful work which flowers into expansive glory as never before in the “Benedictus” section.

”Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” – so true!9818165

(Procession in front of San Michele in this September’s Luminara celebrations of Lucca’s Volto Santo)


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