Sunday, 29 January 2012

Royal Northen College of Music - Foden's Band - 28/01/2012 - Review

My concert last night was very interesting. As I mentioned in the brief preview, this was my the first time attending a Brass Band concert.

From the start it was lively & noisy with the Pittsburgh Overtune by Philip Sparke, a piece composed for the River City Band and the Condutor at the time, Robert Bernat. This was commissioned as the first movement of A Pittsburgh Symphony.

Before the performance continued the audience was introduced to the Composer of the next piece along with the performer for whom the music has been written. James Stephenson, a composer & former trumpeter from Chicago and Rex Richardson delighted the audience with "Rextreme", a piece that has been described as "a 21st century concerto, substantial yet crowd-friendly". This piece of music, the full title is "Trumpet Concerto No 2 Rextreme" received it's Première in Sydney in 2010 and since then has been played to audiences across four continents.

Another Composer was introduced to the audience, this time the Foden's Composer-in-residence, Andy Scott. We was treated to a World Première to "Spirit of Mingus", a piece inspired by the Americian Composer Charles Mingus. Reference is made to various Mingus numbers including Goodbye Porkpie Hat & Self Portrait in Three Colours.

Interval time came where I went to buy some food. I was starving at this point as I have travelled straight from Liverpool where I had spent the day at Anfield watching Liverpool beat Utd in the FA Cup :-). The food on offer was varied, which is always a good sign in my book. I had the Meal Deal, sandwich, crisps & a drink for £2.75 so very reasonably priced too. I also bought a programme at the cost of £3.

Second half of the performance began with Comedy Overture by John Ireland, a piece considered to be one of the finest brass band works from the 1930's. The final part was the 25 minute long Partita by Wilfred Heaton. This is broken down into 4 parts, the rhetoric Prelude, wild energy of the Scherzo, the powerful climax of the Canzona and the wit and momentum of the Rondo

We thought the concert was over at this point but it was not. We was treated to a March, sorry but I forget which one, but it was a rousing way to end the concert.

Overall a very interesting evening, one which I hope to repeat in the future.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Royal Northern College of Music - Foden's Brass Band - 28/01/2012

Tonight I am making my first visit to the Royal Northern College of Music to watch a Brass Band.

I have always enjoyed this type of music and during my hunt for new Art experiences online I came across the website for the RNCM.

I am looking forward to watching this concert tonight and check back tomorrow for my report.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Snake In The Grass - 20/01/2012 - Review

This will be very short as unfortunately I did not go.

I am a crazy tennis fan, as you may know if you have seen my other two Blogs, and I am currently taking two weeks leave so that I can convert my "body clock" to Melbourne time and watch the matches all through the night.

I set my alarm for 18.00 but this meant I had only 5 hours sleep. When my alarm went off I just knew that I was too tired and I would have been yawning all the way through and that is not an ideal situation.

I am sorry that I missed the play, I have been looking forward to this Play for a few months now. I will keep my eyes open for any further showings elsewhere.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Snake In The Grass - 20/01/2012

Tonight I shall be watching an amateur play at my local Playhouse

Here is a brief synopsis of the play:

Annabel comes home after the death of her father; his nurse, Alice, alleges he died because Annabel’s sister (Miriam) murdered him. The price of her silence is £100,000 - money they haven’t got. Miriam’s solution is simple; poison Alice and shove her body down the well in the garden, and everything’s back under control; and she does ... but it isn’t .....

In fact that’s just the start of a night of horror .....

Ayckbourn like you’ve never seen him; a ‘chiller’ like you’ve never sat through .... If you can sit through it!

I really enjoy a "whodunnit" so this will hopefully be an enjoyable way to spend my evening.

I will write a review over the weekend.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Johann Strauss Gala - 15/01/2012 - Review

In a word, WONDERFUL.

The music, the dresses, the dancers, the rapport between the Conductor & audience. Everything was just wonderful.

The show started with By The Beautiful, Blue Danube Waltz. This is what I am enjoying the most, this is a piece of music I have heard all my life but have never known the title or composer, I do now. A great start to the show.

The ladies were all vying for an invite to the ball next. One poor dancer was almost left out, until the Conductor came to the rescue and found her invite.

The Soprano for today was Amy Freston and her voice was rather stunning. I enjoyed the Cachucha-Galopp and the Bitte Schon Polka francaise was hilarious with the dancers getting themselves tangled up and falling over each other.

Audience involvement helped bring the first half to an end when the Radetzky March was played and we clapped along in time to the marching dancers.

The second half was equally as good with more Polka's that had my foot tapping and this time the audience participation was for us to sing. We managed to churn out a reasonable decent tune in keeping with the setting :-)

The final two pieces were, as with the first, a fitting way to end the show. The Fruhlingsstimmen Waltz was lovely with lots of twirling and the Thunder and Lightening Polka brought the house down.

My ticket for the show was £19 and my seat was A 69 in the Side Circle. My only complaint is that the rail guard blocked the view of the whole stage so a lot of "head bobbing" was called for. I know for next time to pay a little extra for the Circle or a little less for a Gallery seat. At The Bridgewater Hall I don not think there is a bad seat in the house.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Johann Strauss Gala - 15/01/2012

On Sunday afternoon I will to heading for The Bridgewater Hall for the Johann Strauss Gala.

I will admit to knowing very little about Strauss and cannot say if I have ever heard his music. What appealed to me about this show is the setting. The performers will be dressed in period costumes. For me that will make the show feel more real, more in keeping with the time period of the music.

Here is the excerpt from the website:

"The acclaimed Johann Strauss Dancers and Orchestra return with an enchanting new show for 2012, as the stage is set for the magic of their Viennese Ball. Directed from the violin in the traditional Viennese manner by David Juritz. With sparkling soprano Amy Freston and the Johann Strauss Dancers in glorious costumes of the period."

The music will include:

Tritsch Tratsch Polka
The Blue Danube Waltz
Radetzky March
Die Fledermaus Overture
Wiener Blut
Voices of Spring
Thunder and Lightning Polka
Pizzicato Polk
Perpetuum Mobile
The Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus

I will post my thoughts on the show early next week.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Where I Watch

As I have stated in the description I have only recently discovered the world of the Arts.

I have watched films during my life but never really taken an interest. That all changed when a group of online friends started a "film club". We would be given two films a week for us to all watch online, at the same time, then discuss the film afterwards.

This opened my eyes to a whole new world as I was exposed to "golden oldies" foreign film and animation etc. From here my curiosity grew and I took the plunge on a trip to Paris to visit the Opera House and watch my first ever ballet.

I was hooked :-)

As soon as I returned to the UK I started to trawl the internet looking for places to watch live performances & films. I am lucky in where I live (North West England) as Manchester and Liverpool are great places to appreciate the Arts.

My new 2nd home is Cornerhouse. A fantastic find. Here I watch old classic films, view independent art galleries and even have a bite to eat.

Manchester Opera House & The Palace Theatre are two other places I visit for my ballet & shows.

Orchestras are watched at Bridgewater Hall & Preston Guild Hall

I have so far watched a range of Arts but now I have this Blog I will post my preview / review of my outings :-) I hope you enjoy.