And other suggestions.
Qingming wasn’t a complete loss because I managed to get through about five papers in the morning and five in the afternoon before I’d reached my limit… [Topic sentence? –ed.] With diligence and the desire to clear up the mock exams without too much prevarication nipping at my heels… [What’s nipping at your heels? Diligence and desire, or prevarication? –ed.] In other words, I didn’t spend the whole of Qingming marking the mock exams, but by marking papers steadily, I managed to get most of them done.
The results in the Listening were not so great, the average being around 55%, which is only a little shy of what the classes get when I give them practice listening tests. The results in the Reading and Writing were quite good at an average of 68% although most of the marks come from the reading. This is also in spite of my policy to be strict in my marking: if there was a wrong answer on one line, the whole thing was wrong; the address on the form had to be a proper address; and the summary had to adhere to the word limit.
The writing, on the other hand, was the usual dull unimaginative stuff I’ve come to know and loathe. PAL 1 did give me a variety of cities as their weekend destination in Ex. 6, but PAL 2 saw the picture of the Eiffel Tower in the paper and told me all about their clichéd trips to Paris (or Pairs as one student persisted in calling it). (The other two pictures were Italy [probably] and the Netherlands, but I doubt whether any of the students recognised this.) Ex. 7 was the same thing 66 times over with not the slightest sign of originality to be seen.
12.04.12. I should add that although the marks were actually quite good, the grade thresholds we actually used pushed the grades down a level, and while I thought this was deserved in some cases, it also meant that students who got above 70% (the typical boundary for an A) mostly got Bs. In the end, I think only one student got an A. I’m not expecting any A*s out of this year’s classes, but I think these thresholds (which came from where?) were overly harsh.
With that over, we have a respite of a week before the speaking exams commence, which is going to take the whole week to complete and probably leave me blind, bald, deaf, daft, and dumb. Because the boys messed up the accreditation and we can’t pull in teachers from other schools (admittedly impractical because of the complications which would entail), it’s going to be me and Michelle with some extra help for a couple of days to deal with 195 students. Speaking exams are draining at the best of times. This won’t be the best of times.
Then there will be one more week and the final exams will be upon us. That’s not so bad until the actual exam is over and the classes just become one prolonged exercise in babysitting.
Couperin, Pièces de Clavecin. A limited buyer’s guide.
The reason why I have two copies of Couperin’s Concerts Royaux is because I thought the second album by the Smithsonian Chamber Players was actually of his harpsichord music. In fact, it only contained two pieces, one from the 9th Ordre [sic!] and one from the 15th. This is a good illustration of the problem with Couperin’s Pièces de Clavecin, which seem to be used as filler on other albums or as part of an anthology of pieces (e.g. La Sophie CHAN 0598 by Sophie Yates).
I have the album by Bob van Asperen, which contains the whole of the 8th Ordre, and extracts from the 3rd, 7th and 13th. Three other albums contain the 8th Ordre in its entirety. From a search of The Classical Shop, the only harpsichordist who has produced albums containing whole Ordres was Alan Cuckston with the 6th, 8th and 11th (Naxos NA 0460); 13th, 17th, 18th and 21st (Naxos NA 0461); and the 22nd, 23rd, 25th and 26th (Naxos NA 0462).
Via Presto Classical I can now add Pièces de Clavecin IV by Mitzi Meyerson (Glossa GDC 921802), but the only new piece she brings to the party is the 20th Ordre with the rest already covered by Cuckston. On their Accent album, Robert Kohnen and Barthold Kuijken add the whole of the 14th and 15th Ordres
But if you’re trying to amass all of Couperin’s harpsichord music, it might be hard to avoid either buying up some pieces all over again (probably in Couperin’s case, the Concerts Royaux) or paying way over the odds for a set of tracks which bought separately cost more than the whole album. (In which case buy the album and only download the part you want.)
If, on the other hand, you live in a civilised country, you can always buy the lot on CD played by Michael Borgstede (Brilliant Classics 93082); but I live in a world which is a.) not civilised and b.) where digital music is more convenient.