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Conor Biggs' Schubertreise diary, day four

La Pierre de Brunehaut

Today is a kind of fallow day, tomorrow being a performance day. I like to speak to my audiences, so I will need to cobble together a few words in French about the songs. I usually write down what I want to say, but since I speak ad lib., much of what i write it is discarded.

I also need to ge shopping. Sounds banal, but what one eats, and when, plays a crucial rôle in performing well. A drop in blood sugar when facing a hefty song can be disastrous. Since the recital in Jodoigne — a repeat of Schubertreise XIV last Sunday in Bever — begins at 5pm, Michel and I will hold a top-and-tail rehearsal at 3pm, leaving me with a clear hour to assemble my thoughts before the concert. What time I get up, when I begin my warm-up, when to eat, what to pack for a pre-concert meal: all are details which need to be thought about, preferably not on the day itself! Nowadays I let pretty much anything down the hatch, though I avoid alcohol before a performance. Nuts are a no-no, and I'm also wary of apples just before going on: small pieces can lodge between the teeth and come loose during crucial moments!

Photo: La Pierre de Brunehaut, a menhir in Hainaut. I'm a keen walker. I keep a photo archive of my walks in Belgium, which you can visit on Facebook: "Belgium is beautiful".

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