Music Mondays – The BSO.


What’s this? A genuinely cultured evening? I think so! It should be stated here that I also went to the costume museum in Bath the other day too, it’s not just all about television and sweaty gigs. So there.

The BSO, or Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, are a very good world-famous orchestra who play mostly in Poole, at what is now known as The Lighthouse. They also perform along much of the south, and this evening, my housemate and I trekked out on a wet and windy November evening to see them perform an anthology of Michael Nyman music. I like the BSO, I like Michael Nyman – how could this evening possibly go wrong?

The only downside could be that, once again, I hadn’t had enough time to delve fully into his back catalogue. My dad always said that he got the best out of concerts when he knew the music, and to an extent, that is very much true. But with classical music, unless it’s something dire like Stravinsky, I find prior knowledge of the works is less important: it’s usually universal enough to just wash over you in a relaxing and unobtrusive fashion. It’s no noise rock anyway.

Collecting, after arming ourselves with white wine for me and a gin and tonic for Zoe, in Hall A of Colston Hall, I was rather disappointed to see only a handful of support for such an orchestra. I believe only about 400 tickets were sold for this evening’s performance, which, let’s face it, is pretty bad. Our tickets were only £8 as that seems to be the standard price for ‘Under 26’s’ (why do not more people go to these?!), and we had rather good seats – although Zoe disputed the fact that you needed to actually SEE an orchestra. It was all about sound. I disagreed – I like seeing how orchestras work. We had a good view of the cellos and double basses, but couldn’t see that much else – the piano was shrouded completely by the violin sections, which was a shame as what is, arguably, Michael Nyman’s most famous piece — here:

contains a piano. That said, when they performed this piece, it was OUTSTANDING. Goosebumps a-go-go. I loved it.

For their Nyman Anthology, the BSO played:

Gattaca Suite:
The Morrow (I loved this)
God’s Hand/Becoming Jerome
Not The Only One
The Departure
(and this!)

The Draughtsman’s Contract:
A Watery Death
The Garden Is Becoming A Robe Room
Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds

Drowning By Numbers:
Trysting Fields
Sheep and Tides
Wedding Tango
Wheelbarrow Walks
Fish Beach
Knowing The Ropes

The Diary Of Anne Frank:
Amsterdam Dawn/Candlefire
Concentration Camp/Silent Separation
If/Why
First Kiss/Lament For Lost Youth

The Piano:
To The Edge Of The Earth (this was another favourite of mine)
The Promise/The Heart Asks Pleasure First
Here To There
Lost And Found
The Embrace
Dreams Of A Long Journey
(and so was this!)

Memorial

This final piece was, and you’d know if you played the piece above, outstanding. I think it’s the only one I’ve played since going to this musical evening.

My other observations ran as such..

– The men were all in white, which I’ve never seen before. Almost like an away strip or something, but all the ladies were in black. And some of the latter were wearing trousers. Now I know it’s a liberally society these days and all, but I’m not sure if I’m cool with it. A full length skirt seems to be more appropriate for the occasion.
– As the pieces played were from soundtracks, which would obviously run seamlessly from track to track, we frequently were left with quite abrupt ends. This wasn’t a massive mood-killer or anything, but it did keep reminding me that this was music written for slightly the wrong performance type that we were seeing.
– THE BRASS SECTION IS AMAZING. I love ensemble brass, it’s the best way to have it. Solo can be good, but not in a jazz context. Never in a jazz context.

Aside from that, everything was excellent! I can’t really fault them at all, so this has seemed like an odd blog to write – for once, I have nothing concrete to criticise. Does this mean live music has actually satisfied me for once? Dear lord.

The BSO in their natural surroundings, at The Lighthouse

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