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One of the minor miracles of my time in California last month was not one but two pleasant 5-hour drives with my mother. On the way up to Lodi, we mostly listened to old radio shows on Sirius, including a Colloquy from the 1950s led by a professor. He interviewed Shakespeare with a view to establishing who'd actually written the plays. Kit Marlowe interrupts. Then someone mentions Bacon (who's appalled that he's considered a possible contender, bless him). Edward de Vere wanders in, claiming it's all his, before Richard Burbage points out that none of it matters without actors. I think, in some ways, Mom enjoyed my reactions to it as much or more as the actual discussion. Over lunch, we talked about why I'd laughed so hard when de Vere swanned in, and how I'd known it was Burbage before he said his name.

On the way back, the radio plays weren't particularly interesting so I scanned through and immediately found Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. We ended up listening to classical all the way to Los Angeles. The real discovery was violinist Nichola Benedetti. She played Bruch's Scottish Fantasy and as soon as I got home I needed to buy the whole album (also called Scottish Fantasy). I finally got to listen to the whole thing today, and it's beautiful. I'm usually more of a cello or viola girl, but there's something plangent about her tone that captivates me. Even her rendition of Loch Lomond was lovely. But, other than the Bruch, the two following were my favorites.



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