On Sunday my colleague and I took a short trip to Uppsala. It's a splendid old town, that mostly has three main attractions: castle, cathedral and university. Since the weather was a bit cold and windy, we didn't spend very much time there. I think that, if I sometime visit Sweden in summer, I'll go to Uppsala again.
However, the main event yesterday was of musical nature. While we were wandering around inside the cathedral, an organist started to rehearse. He was, as rehearsing church organists usually are, sometimes improvising and sometimes playing fragments from existing compositions, and mostly it was difficult to tell one mode of operation from the other. I was, however, really impressed, because the music was quite modernistic in style, very bold about harmony and the performer showed a lot of crispness and technical brilliancy. I was a bit resistant to leave the church, but finally I had to.
On the way out my colleague and I stopped at the souvenir counter to buy some postcards and stamps (no, I don't accept any more requests for postcards, because on Saturday I already spent two and a half hours for that matter and wish to spend no more). And then it happened that the counter served for me like a piggymousetrap, because, well, they sold CDs. I quickly spotted a double CD recording of Mahler's Symphony 2, "Resurrection", done by choirs from this church and the local university. I had missed this symphony in my collection, so I decided to take it as a souvenir for myself. I also wanted some organ stuff, but at first glance was not able to find it.
I came to the counter and wanted to pay. The girl at the counter saw that I took the CD and immediately attempted on me some very obvious marketing — she asked me if I liked the organist's performance and, upon my affirmation, handed me another CD and told me some more information about the matters. Andrew Canning, the organist, appeared to be an Englishman who had moved to Sweden after receiving an appointment at Uppsala Domkyrka as Assistant Organist and Choirmaster. He's very bright and widely known in Scandinavia. After chatting with the girl for five minutes, I bought both CDs. A surpirsingly good point was that I got a bargain — two CDs were sold to me at about 75% the price, plus I was given some nice postcards for free.
At the hotel I listened to Canning's CD on my favorite iRiver player. I have to say that iRiver really sucks when it comes to classics. However, I have made up my general impression and I would say I'm really satisfied with the purchase. I didn't put Mahler's 2nd on, because I really don't want to spoil my ears so seriously. I have decided also that while I'm in Sweden during this or some next visits, I have to look for more recordings by Andrew Canning and, especially, by Uppsala Domkyrka chief organist, whose name is Lars Angerdal. By the way, it is stated in the booklet of Canning's CD that he has some jazz recordings together with some Swedish guy playing tenor sax. Sounds interesting, but not very healthy for my wallet.
My other music impression was some very cool street musicians of seemingly Balkan origin, who amused the public on Saturday at Drottningsgatan. However, they didn't sell CDs, so I just listened for about half an hour and paid for the experience with eight Swedish crowns, which, at the actual rate, made a whole dollar.