Guessing the tune

The turning back of the clocks brought the turning back of the weather, well, for a few hours of the day at least. The clouds broke the sun shone and the temperature rose into the midteens.

Driving southward from Worcester to visit my mother in Somerset, I pondered the beauty of the English countryside in autumn.

An expert explained why the autumn colours are so spectacular this year, but I cannot remember any of the explanation. There is no need to understand the science in order to appreciate the extraordinary vibrancy of the yellows and reds, and golds and russets, and the other shades too numerous to number. It is an autumn that demands the attention of those passing through it.

Thinking music would be an appropriate accompaniment to the paint palette of shades, I decided Classic FM might offer tunes more in keeping with the mood of the moment than BBC Radio Six, to which I usually listen.

There would be the possibility of them playing something I recognised, or something that was vaguely familiar, or at least something that was nice. Knowing nothing about music, I feel quite happy using the word “nice,” and Classic FM does niceness with great panache.

If I had to choose a single piece of classical music as my favourite, it would be the Intermezzo from Jean Sibelius’ Karelia Suite.

I am not even sure what an intermezzo is, but I cannot hear this piece of music without being transported back to our living room when I was a child and the beginning of This Week on ITV.

All of the classical music with which I am familiar comes from television theme tunes or episodes of Inspector Morse, so the chance of recognising pieces played on the radio tend to be fairly slim.

Anyway, I turned on the radio in the hope of hearing something that I liked and the cheery presenter announced that the next piece would be Sibelius’ “gentle intermezzo.”

”Gentle,” I thought, “it must be a different piece of music.” As the sound of brass filled the car, I realised the remark was intended as a piece of humour.

Among the thousands of pieces that I might have heard when turning on the radio, it seems odd that the piece played was the one of which I had thought.

If I could develop such skills in anticipating numbers, I might buy a lottery ticket.



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