I’ve got a confession to make. Star Wars was the piece of music that first alerted me to the spectacular sound of the London Symphony Orchestra when I was a kid. The fact that I play in that orchestra and played in the soundtrack for the last two films still brings makes me smile.
That’s not my confession.
The orchestra that first stopped me in my tracks when I was a child was the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The piece that got me hooked was the final movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. I know a lot of people love the famous slow movement, but it was those powerful brass melodies from the finale that made we want to listen to more - that and the disco drumbeat of course…
Yep. The first time I heard the ninth symphony (at least before it segued seamlessly into Tchaik 6) was on a Hooked on Classics album. For what it’s worth, my earliest exposure to the foundations of the Baroque flute repertoire was from Hooked on Bach.
El Sistema this, El Sistema that...there have been times over the last few years when I’ve grown sick and tired of hearing about the music education method famous for producing Gustavo Dudamel from within the ranks of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Every time they appear in Britain, the press go into a frenzy. The jackets! The twirling instruments! The dancing! Of course, celebrating young musicians is wonderful and I’m delighted that it receives coverage in the mainstream media, and for the record, I happen to think that they are brilliant!. I just wish the coverage didn’t often have the subtext of I wish we had stuff like this in Britain. Of course, it’s not just the media, music students can be just as bad. I can guarantee that when regular visiting orchestras come to London, students are fighting to get hold of a ticket, but when they can get a £5 ticket using the excellent Student Pulse App for a London based orchestra, suddenly that essay that had been meaning to get around to writing demands to be written. It seems to be a feature of being British. That self deprecating humour that we’re famous for and foreigners find endearing (so I’m told) often also manifests itself in being unable or unwilling to celebrate our own home grown talent. In short,(look away UKIP) if it’s from overseas, it must be better.
Having briefly moaned about music education and the future lack of practitioners in my last/first blog post, here's some good news. The picture above is of the offstage brass of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain giving it some during rehearsals. I should declare some self interest here - my son is one of them! They are giving concerts in Leeds tomorrow and at the home of the LSO, the Barbican on Sunday night. Back to school for most of them on Monday. I know it's often said that a picture can paint a thousand words. Well, if you want to know what the young upstarts thought of rehearsing with John Wilson, you can read what NYO harpist Hannah Allaway thought about it in her blog
2014. That was a year wasn’t it? Same as last year. As my blog about touring has come to an end, I decided there were two ways to look at it. I could either stop entirely or I could expand my ramblings to non tour related shenanigans as well. I’m choosing option 2.
So as well as touring, there will now be teaching, flute related stuff, writing stuff and anything else that takes my fancy. I’ve no idea what’s going to happen so I thought, as every other blogger/writer/critic is doing a round up/prediction thing of 2014/15, I would too. Here goes. Please note that names, places, times and facts may have been changed…
Kids in Concerts
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