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July 17, 2002

Subject: England Trip - letter #08
Wednesday evening, July 17, 2002
Good eveing friends,
Tomorrow's strike by the Underground employees looks eminent. For that reason this morning I decided to try the bus system to Wesley's Chapel as a dry run for tomorrow. After two hours and several changes, I went to the Underground to finish up my trip with better familiarity. From St. Paul's Cahtedral to the chapel was only a few minutes.
My time at the Charles Wesley organ was quite challenging. I worked on Psalm 122 and Psalm 51. It seemed to me that Austin Lovelace has already done the definitive setting of Psalm 122 and that Zingerelli can't be outdone on Psalm 51. I worked on several portions of Psalm 51 with much less success than what I did yesterday. Being an hour late did not help me either.
Following my time at the Chapel, I went across the street to Bunhill Fields (the cemetary) and sat in the shade of a very large and old tree and enjoyed my sack lunch, which I had brought with me. It was a great sandwich of chicken salad, bacon, cranberries, cucumber and tomoato on white bread. This has become my custom daily. After lunch, I found Tom, the lead caretaker of the cemetary. I asked him about all the criticism of Tony Blair, the Prime Minister. Blair is being accused even by those within his own Labour Party of being "Presidential" as opposed to being Prime Minister. The news media here has repeatedly quoted political leaders saying that he is President Bush's puppet. The closest analogy that I can come up with is that the Prime Minister (PM) is similar to the Sepaker of the House of Representatives, in our Federal Governmnet. The PM is an MP (Member of Parliment) and as all MPs, they are elected by their local region. The controlling party then selects the party leader, hence the PRIME Minister. That particual selection process is by the House of Commons, not voted in by the popular vote. It seems that he is supposed to "work with the MPs, not bring his onw agenda and expect them to endorse it."
From there I decided to go view the original Messiah manuscript, which has historically been at the British Museum. I have seen it severaltimes before and thought I might learn something by studying it. Upon arriving at the Museum, I discovered that the room was empty. The guard told me that they no longer had the music manuscript collection. It had been transferred to the British Library.
Since I was right across the street from the University of London, I decided to see if I could locate a friend who is studying there for a few weeks. Although, I talked to several nice persons behind administrative counters, I had no success. I then was off for a significant hike up to the British Library.
I was very pleased to find many of the music manuscripts on display. As museums do, the lighting level was very low and that made observation of details quite difficult for me. I did study several original hand scores by Handel, J. S. Bach, Mozart, Haydn and a few others. The one I studied the most was Messiah - the Hallelujah. The score they have is the primary one that Handel used for composing. It was a bound volume of musical manuscript paper. The composed score was then copied by his copyist for the production of instrumental parts for the musicians.
I am glad to say that they did not have the ability to erase inked notes that were incorrect. There were a few strike-throughs. It was a joy to follow the orchestral parts across the page and hear the music in my mind. Bach's handwriting of his score was very beautiful and clearly a work of art in itself, not withstanding the music for which it stood. I did notice one oddity with Handel's Messiah score. The stems on all the notes (in all clefs) wer always on the right. There were no such shenanagans by any of the other compsosers, even by his predecessor, JS Bach. He was either lazy, or a bit obtuse, because the high notes on the score with the stems on the right looked like a page full of "q's". It would be readable and the flags were otherwise normal - just an observation of peculiarity.
Although I was tired and it was 5pm, I decided to make one more pit-stop on the way to the internet cafe. I decided to follow-up on my local gossip and research about finding Charles Wesley's grave. I met with failure on that excursion last week. Today I found complete success. It was right were the histroy steward told me it was - in the St. Marylebone OLD Church Garden. Charles died 29 March 1788 and is burried there. They have made a nice small park with benches and markers for some of the graves there. It is small and peaceful. The St. Marylebone Parish Church building was constructed in 1400, rebuilt in 1741 and was badly bombed durining WWII. It was very unstable and there were no funds for restoration. Hence it was demolished in 1949. This beautiful garden/cemetary was built at the precise location of the foundations of the building.
I then fought the Underground crowds and arrived here around 7pm to send you my experiencs for the day. My feet are tired and it is time for my blood sugar check, meds and dinner. By the way, the past week I have enjoyed excellent control over my blood sugar. The craziness was goone within a day or two of the time shift with my arrival.
Best regards,
If you would like to check out the little hotel where I am staying - the Vicarage Hotel, go to http://londonvicaragehotel.com/
You can also check out the Salisbury Cathedral at http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/, if you desire.

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