Morning. Chained to your workstations again? I'm feeling rather sunnily-disposed today.
Saturday saw me, neatly attired in a decent suit, attend a very dull but useful fencing meeting (a whole region's AGM with 7 people present…) during which we picked the teams for the competition I'm managing. It dragged on so long that I missed the first few minutes of the concert I tootled off to - Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony and Delius's Sea Drift. Luckily, they started with the Delius and the man was right - it really did drift, interminably, so missing a few minutes wasn't too terrible.
The performance of A Sea Symphony was something else entirely. It's a dramatic piece, drawing on Walt Whitman's poetry and using a full choir as well as orchestra. At times the sea is a sparkling, friendly place, busy with trade and international encounters - at others, it's a dark, uncontrollable threat to lives. The piece swings between these views, with periods of prettiness, of sadness and of dread.
The performers were the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the CB Choir, Julie Cooper on Soprano, James Rutherford on Baritone and Adrian Lucas conducting. It was, I think, amongst the best couple of concerts I've ever attended, up there with Philip Glass in Lichfield Cathedral. The choir, after a slightly blurry start, showed how sensitive they could be, as did the orchestra and soloists. They wrung every drop of emotion from the piece - in parts of the second and third movements I was genuinely on the verge of tears.
Special mention too for the leader of the viola section. Vaughan Williams knew how to write for viola, which many composers don't - the solos were beautifully judged and the tone was exquisite.
I knew from the first ten minutes of this performance that a standing ovation was required. Unfortunately, the rest of the (sparse) crowd were either too cynical or too physically incapable to join me. I was certainly, apart from the children dragged along, the youngest in the crowd by several decades - and I'm 34. Sad, isn't it? They did engage in prolonged applause and multiple curtain calls, so justice was done.
Then home, for a solitary curry at the place by my flat. Actually, I wasn't lonely at all. I had most of the newspaper to get through and my head was still full of music.
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