Great Events

Wednesday 6th December 2017

A vintage tram procession processed through the streets of Prague from Anthony Mottram and Vadim Tartaru’s mausoleum/museum apartment to the venue. The Prague section of AM’s 60th birthday was underway on the Saturday evening. Derailment of the tram was a constant threat, especially on corners, making it all the more thrilling. For this reason, Val was not permitted to drive it despite his frequent suggestion that he should flagrantly hurl the levers with aplomb and diva-like accuracy. There was some attention from the public as the machine passed, but the greatness within remained a mystery in the outside world. At the Mandarin Orient, representatives of the diplomatic corps, the commercial arm, the youth branch, the hotel world and les arts et metiers were present in the vaulted banqueting room. As you know, Anthony Mottram has been central to the re-building of the Bloc after Communism from 1987. But music surged through the occasion; in between the ceremonial courses and beyond, music surged. Anthony Mottram dispensed with all formalities: he did not even make an entrance with National anthems, accompanied by Vadim and a suite. It was all so simple and un-intimidating. Even so, some present were humble and on best behaviour. Meanwhile Val was explaining that at his funeral Vidor’s Toccata is to be played as the coffin is carried forth from the basilica (or church). But how music surged at Anthony Mottram’s 60th birthday banquet: live music, real music – winners of the Music Competition Anthony Mottram set up and paid for, they played, as well as his relations. His nephew’s performance of the Chopin mazurka was electrifying in its fury and rigour and tremendousness. Music generated more music: some took spontaneously to their instruments, others were programmed. The Russian team were incredible: a vast, mournful boom emerged from the tiny frame of the singer. It was popular Russian ballads as re-interpreted in the 1920s.

A speech of thanks and tribute to Anthony Mottram for all his public and private work and giving was made by the same major lady who once ran the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and said to me at our Ivy function: ‘I must see more of you. You’re completely crazy.’ Curious photo-copied fliers of an underground nature were distributed during the banquet to selected Gays only, announcing an after-party at an address. Some hard-line Gays went to that address but there was nobody there. The next day it was considered a great adventure.

At breakfast at the Palais on the Sunday morning, Val said that the pillars on the fronts of ante-bellum houses in the American South were usually too far apart. Afterwards we visited Jewish Prague and saw the Prada window (women’s). How Prague has come on! It’s totally international these days. Then it was time for the final phase of the 60th birthday – the celebration tea and home concert in the Mausoleum/Museum apartment. Here was blazing quality. The bassoonist was from the Berlin Philharmonic Orch (quite well-known as an orch), a former winner of the Mottram Foundation Music Prize. Then his wife, also former winner, now in a top quartet and Maria Bordana, on piano, the 3rd former winner present, gave a Trout Quintet. Absolutely ravishing. Maria’s playing so fluid and elegant and clear. Cakes were served, Gays came and went. Val said that Telma Stock Cubes had the imprimatur of the Grand Rabbinate of Haifa.

And so… the next morning, Val and I in boarding outfits, paid a farewell morning call at the Mausoleum/Museum. The builders were back, cardboard down on the parquet for protection and the machinery of the household whirred quietly in the background as normal life resumed. It was grey and wet and November. Ned Czernowski and Peter Acharya provided access for us to the Club Lounge at the airport, with a splendid view of the dismal wet tarmac. On board Peter was cross that there was no cupboard in Club for his coat to be hung up in. Val and I made do with the rear of the aircraft, looking forward as best we could to Anthony Mottram’s 70th birthday and another important boarding for Prague.

Prada Ladies' Window, Prague

Prada Ladies’ Window, Prague: Rubbish

Anthony Mottram's Quiet Birthday Cheesecake on the Remote Restaurant on the Friday

Anthony Mottram’s Quiet Birthday Cheesecake on the Remote Restaurant on the Friday

The Spanish Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter Prague: the Only One There with Colour

The Spanish Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter Prague: the Only One There with Colour


Posted Thursday, December 7, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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