Blog posts by year and month July 2011

Posts (105)

  1. I'm sure many of you are already familiar with Rachael's work but just in case you're not, here's a quick biog about our newest BBC Wales Nature & Outdoors blogger: Rachael Garside was born in Cardiff but had a yearning for a life beyond the concrete streets of Canton... After working as a...

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  2. The Great British Weather, July 13 at 7.30pm on BBC One A new series looking at our obsession with the weather begins tomorrow night on BBC One. The series aims to unpick the science behind the weather and explore some of the myths behind it. The team consisting of Carol Kirkwood, Alexander ...

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  3. It was back in 2009 when we first worked with Thomas Søndergård. Our principal conductor, Thierry Fischer, had suddenly taken ill and Søndergård entered the fray last minute to conduct a programme of Sibelius, Mahler, and Brahms. His pleasant manner, efficient, yet in-depth rehearsal technique and obvious passion for the music, left an immediate and lasting impression on us. As we were already aware that Thierry would be leaving us at the end of the 2011/2012 season, the great and infamous orchestral rumour mill was rolling before Søndergård had even left the studio - could he be the one for us? Fast forward to Monday 11 July 2011: Thomas is with us to perform a programme of Sibelius, Dvorák and Prokofiev (with the fabulous Baiba Skride). Now, management may have tried to keep it a secret from us all, like a surprise gift at Christmas, but the plethora of cameras and official people in the studio pretty much gave the game away that an announcement of exciting proportions was about to be made. There were very wide smiles abounding in the studio (unusually for a Monday morning) as Thomas was announced as our new principal conductor. Thomas Søndergård in rehearsal with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Monday 11 July 2011 With that, it was straight into rehearsal. I won't bore you all with the technical details of the rehearsal, but what came across, as did the first time we worked with him, was a great sense of musicality; a love for telling the story of the music, rather than just getting from A to B in the score. Tonight's concert is one not to miss. I really do believe this to be a very exciting time for our band. Over the past year, we have won a BBC Music Magazine Award for David Matthews Symphonies 2 & 6 (with Jac van Steen) and were nominated for a Grammy for our recording of Sullivan's Ivanhoe. We have recently had a number of fantastic new appointments in key playing positions within the orchestra, bringing fresh blood and enthusiasm with them. Mark Bowden, a former RPS Composition Prize winner, has just been announced as our new resident composer (in addition to his role as the Rambert Dance Company Music Fellow) and will be joining Simon Holt on our in-house composition team. The addition of Thomas Søndergård to our already established conducting team of Tadaaki Otaka, François-Xavier Roth and Jac van Steen, reinforces the feeling of exciting times ahead. Thomas Søndergård in rehearsal with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Monday 11 July 2011 The appointment of a new conductor affords us the opportunity to look back and see how far we have come. It also gives us the opportunity to look forward and, in a way to redefine ourselves, seeking ever greater standards of performance and creativity in our role as a BBC orchestra and as Wales' National orchestra. With Thomas Søndergård we can continue, in the words of Alex Ross in his book Listen To This, to work as an "individual and an institution bringing out unforeseen capabilities in each other". Laura Sinnerton is a viola player in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

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  4. Last Friday Powys was hit by some heavy downpours with flooding in the Llanidloes area. Thankfully, though, the weather did improve over the weekend and yesterday Anglesey enjoyed over 10 hours of sunshine. It was also sunny in Swansea Bay for the Wales National Air Show with a fresh south...

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  5. Pembrokeshire-born author Sarah Waters has had another of her hugely popular novels adapted for the screen by the BBC. The Night Watch is the latest of her works to be modified for television, and can be seen on BBC Two tomorrow evening at 9pm. Two of her previous novels, Tipping The Velvet and Fingersmith, have both previously been adapted by the BBC. Sarah Waters. Photo © Charlie Hopkinson The novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Orange Prize for Fiction and the 2007 British Book Awards Book of the Year. The Night Watch is a departure from the familiar Victorian period usually associated with Waters' historical novels, this time to the 1940s and the wartime era in Britain. The novel, which works backwards through the 1940s, tells the story of four Londoners. As it states on Waters' official website: "Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching. Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret. Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover. Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances." Like Waters' other novels, female and particularly lesbian relationships feature prominently, and the strong female characters in the novel have been matched in the casting of brilliant British actors for the roles. Anna Maxwell-Martin, who was superb in another recent BBC drama South Riding, stars alongside Claire Foy, Jodie Whittaker and Anna Wilson-Jones. The cast also includes Harry Treadaway, JJ Field (who starred in the made-in-Wales film Third Star) and Liam Garrigan. Claire Foy (Helen) and Anna Maxwell Martin (Kay) in The Night Watch. Photo: BBC/John Rogers Jodie Whittaker as Viv in The Night Watch. Photo: BBC/John Rogers Read a great blog post about the programme over on the BBC TV Blog by Martin Boddinson, the production designer on The Night Watch. In his post Martin talks about the challenge of having to turn the interior stage sets of Lark Rise To Candleford into sets for The Night Watch in just a matter of weeks. He also talks about the various exterior filming locations used and the minute details that have to be researched on such a project to get the interiors, exteriors and even the props perfect, from "the sandbags that will line the streets, even down to the street signs". The Night Watch is on BBC Two at 9pm tomorrow night, Tuesday 12 July, and on the BBC iPlayer for the following seven days.

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  6. This week's show is now available via the BBC iPlayer. So, after last week's Half-Term Report on the Best Welsh Noises of 2011 ('so far'), we're back on more familiar, unfamiliar ground this week - three hours marvelling at the best sounds that have most recently arrived in my inbox, includin...

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  7. There's always a huge air of expectation and excitement at springtime amongst locals along the banks of the River Severn and River Wye as the first eel fry or glass eels begin to arrive. This mysterious fish, makes the incredible journey from the Sargasso Sea to our waters every year (nearly 3,500 miles) but their numbers are now in serious decline and there are concerns over the eels future. Factors such as improved flood defences have prevented eels making their amazing journeys up and down our rivers but some locals are now coming up with an action plan to help. Severn & Wye Smokery, with the help of local chef, Matt Tebbutt, have organised an active educational and restocking programme in Monmouthshire, which comes in two parts: Eels in Schools This scheme aims to put an eel tank into local primary schools in Monmouthshire - currently Raglan VC and Cross Ash Primary. The school children look after and feed the glass eels for a period of weeks, during which time they learn all about the fishery, the environment and the significance of our actions on both. At the end of term, the eels are then released into the Usk and Wye rivers as part of the restocking project. There are plans to roll this out to other schools next year. Sustainable Eel Group Severn & Wye Smokery is already an active member of the Sustainable Eel Group. The group is made up of scientists, government agencies, suppliers and fisherman whose sole interest is the well-being of the eel and they are trying to address the issues that surround the eel. Richard Cook from the Severn & Wye Smokery has been passionate about eels all of his life: "I have had a very privileged life involved in fishing, exporting and restocking this secretive fish". Richard who only uses farmed eels in his smokehouse, feels that it's important we are all aware of the issues surrounding the eel and work to preserve this way of life and fishery for our children and future generations.

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  8. Singer Sian Evans has joined an illustrious list of Welsh artists to have topped the UK singles chart, courtesy of her collaboration with DJ Fresh on the track Louder. Sian Evans. Picture: Hacker Photography The frontwoman of Kosheen provided vocals for the single, which comes 10 years...

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  9. Kids In Glass Houses have described their upcoming third album, In Gold Blood, as having a "Mad Max" feel. Kids In Glass Houses Speaking to NME.com at the Sonisphere festival Aled Phillips said: "It's kind of set in this Mad Max, kind of Warriors world where people are all reduced to ...

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  10. Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail on Sunday, 10 July at the Offa's Dyke Centre West Street, Knighton LD7 1EN. Here's the itinerary: 1.30 pm Grand Parade leaves Brookside Square to Offa's Dyke Park where Fancy Dress. Competitions for all ages will be judg...

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