Tue, Apr. 20th, 2010, 12:33 pm
I just saw a plane go overhead.
As some of you know, Jane and I are singing in Britten's War Requiem next week at the Barbican.
The War Requiem was commissioned for the reconsecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, after the old one was destroyed in World War 2. Not commissioned as such--I think the specification was basically "a piece of music"--but Britten was clearly inspired. He came up with one of the great choral works of the 20th century, a Requiem for war dead, mixing the traditional Requiem mass with settings of Wilfred Owen's war poetry.
(Helen wants us to remind you that you may have studied Owen's poems at school. Clearly she doesn't want you to come. As far as I'm concerned, if you studied Owen's poems at school, forget that. You won't have heard them like this.)
The choir and soprano solo sing a more or less traditional setting of the Requiem--heavily influenced by Verdi. (The tenor in his first solo number refers to "shrill demented choirs"; that would be us, then.) But alongside are a tenor and a baritone representing an English and a German soldier--Britten originally wrote the parts for an English tenor and a German baritone--singing Britten's settings of Owen's poems. And on top of that, a boys' choir; as the soldiers sing of their experiences in the trenches and we sing the mass for them from 70 or 80 years later, the boys don't belong to our world at all, but provide a sort of ethereal commentary from somewhere that may or may not be Heaven...
Britten chose his poetry with an eye for the ironic, not to say cynical. So the most upbeat part of the whole work, a boisterous fugue on "Quam olim Abrahae promisisti et semini eius" is followed by "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young" in which Abraham refuses to sacrifice the ram instead of his son, but kills Isaac "and half the seed of Europe, one by one", and then the ghostly echoes of the fugue, now in a minor key. Or the intercutting of the Lacrymosa with "Futility"; as the choir sing about the Resurrection, the soldiers move a mortally wounded colleague into the sunlight in the vain hope that it will revive him one last time.
It's a very ambitious programme for us, but well worth the effort, and I should say well worth an evening of your time and a few pounds pocket money. The concert is at the Barbican on Wednesday 31st March; Barbican site is http://www.barbican.org.uk/music/event-detail.asp?ID=9919
and ours is http://www.london-concert-choir.org.uk/
. There are still tickets left...
Fri, Oct. 23rd, 2009, 01:37 pm
Now, I'm not normally one to disparage those of us who are built to a more generous body plan, but Nick Griffin is one person for whom, it seems to me, the epithet "fat bastard" is entirely appropriate.
Some little while ago, I hooked up with an old school friend
at a reunion do; got back in touch, met up a few times, as you do. He plays the piano as well, so we've discussed that quite a bit, in particular that I'm mostly doing baroque stuff at the moment. There was also the incident with Chopin's Raindrop prelude and the didgeridoo...
So today he emails me and says that he was entertaining at another school do, and told one of my old maths teachers that my taste in music is "now mainly classical." The response was, apparently, relief that it wasn't "that dreadful heavy metal" that I "used to listen to" at school.
Humph. Just for that, I'm putting on some Slayer. And you can tell that to any maths teacher you happen to come across.
Yes, it's another concert plug (and ultra-rare post) from me. On Thursday July 9th (less than a month away, doesn't time fly) the London Concert Choir
, in which, as you know, I sing, are giving a Handel concert at the Cadogan Hall at Sloane Square. On the menu are the Coronation Anthems and the Foundling Hospital anthem, plus the band will be playing Music for the Royal Fireworks.
More details are on the choir and the Cadogan website. I should warn you that we are performing with a period ensemble, and hence will be singing flat, but if you can handel that, ahahaha, then please come along.
Fri, Aug. 22nd, 2008, 04:47 pm
Anybody pubbing it tonight?
This is truly terrible. Go to this blog post
. Scroll down to the picture. See what he's done?
I am shocked, saddened and disgusted. This is offensive to me and thousands like me. He's put a banana peel
and coffee grounds
in with the ordinary household rubbish, without separating them for composting!
As a gardener I condemn this heinous act and I hope that Myers is summarily sacked by his university.