Summer course students on the Bay of Naples

Dad, what’s that music you played me; old music, something demonic and James Bond. I want to play it to Marie (one of AHA’s tutors)”. My heart leapt. It is Bosch Butt Music and the score appears on the bare bottom of a figure in Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights c.1506. It’s fascinating and the beginning sounds like the first bars of the James Bond theme, employing a prohibited musical device called the demonic interval. Not only had Atticus remembered it, but he wanted to share it with his tutor. That means conversation, shared knowledge, no barriers, mental adventure. Wonderful! Just what we have always hoped for AHA.

And Cosima; “I have just seen the most beautiful Church, ever…” It turned out to be the Duomo in Naples; bit surprising to me, but I was overjoyed to hear that sheer aesthetic excitement in her voice.

Snippets indicate a good time. Snorkelling over ancient ruins off Naples, Pompeii, Caravaggio, drawing, swimming off Sicily and last night the twins’ birthday supper at a clifftop pizzeria over at Syracuse. Steve Nelson, the lead tutor, sent a sparse text this morning. ‘Pretty successful night – far too late but dancing was had and cake was delicious, nice kids, no mishaps.’

And then this came, unprompted, from a parent:

“Oh my goodness Philip is ADORING Italy …. he just texts me every few days saying It’s truly amazing. Wow! Thank you for creating such wonderful experiences for our children to have in life. He’ll remember it forever. As an overly anxious mother, whose child has Type 1 Diabetes, it was a heart-wrenching moment seeing him off at the airport. Into the crazy Italian heat armed with insulin in every pocket, only to have received an email by the time I reached the car park from Deborah at AHA to say provision had already been made for tutors to carry spare sets and keep them cool and all had been organised for him to be met at the other end.
Needless to say, Philip only writes of his drawing improving, the wonderful friends he is making, and sends me images of beautiful gardens in Naples and bronzes. Who could ask for anything more. Please also thank Nick, too, for writing Philip such a lovely letter beforehand. He went straight out and read the recommendations on the beach in the days before he left.
Fingers crossed, I think it is working.”

Listen to the Bosch music … people went to the stake in the Inquisition for the use of that sort of discord. Only at the beginning do I feel unease, then I am entranced by the lilting melody. And yet, deep, deep in the undertones, you can still hear the rhythm and the discord that set the score.