BBC BLOGS - Scottish Symphony Orchestra blogBBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra homeScottish Symphony Orchestra blog home

Archives for August 2009

Catch a Breath

Post categories:

Anthony Sayer Anthony Sayer | 11:02 UK time, Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Comments (1)

Breathing got special mention in our Hear and Now concert during Listen Here. Martin Suckling's cat's breath inspired him to write Breathe. This released a bunch of ideas to thrash around within the walls of my tiny mental playground during the summer. If you read my Beethoven Nine comments, you'll have noticed that bodily functions are in the foreground. The other three pieces in that Here and Now concert also had bodily themes: Songs and Dances of Death (Clapperton), This is How it Feels (Fennessy), Submergence (Horne). I wondered if there was a theme gestating after that serendipitous conjunction. We do quite a lot of bodily functions in the orchestra......

Read the rest of this entry

How do you do what you do, man?

Post categories:

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra | 10:34 UK time, Monday, 24 August 2009

Comments (1)

Mark O'Keeffe


OK this is my first blog ever.... I don't even know what 'blog' means but since everyone seems to be writing one, I thought I should also have a go. The first three letters 'blo' almost completes the word 'blow', which is what I do in the SSO....blow the trumpet. There has been a lot of blowing recently in this year's BBC Proms, pieces by Ravel, Stravinsky, Beethoven and Glass. Also, the new cello concerto by Unsuk Chin performed brilliantly by Alban Gerhardt two weeks ago. The concerto grew on me throughout the rehearsals....was it the supremely impressive virtuosity of Alban, the atmosphere created by our audience within the space which is The Royal Albert Hall during the 'silences' (see Anthony's blog,) or was it because I'm fascinated by contemporary music of any sort? Maybe all of the above and more. To some, I'm sure it represented hard work to listen to as well as to play, which reminds me of a Russian conductor who performed at Wexford Opera Festival several years ago. On his second visit to the festival, at the first rehearsal he announced to the orchestra in his limited vocabulary, "last year, good music, good time.....this year, good time!"

Read the rest of this entry

Why do we do it in the mud?

Post categories:

Anthony Sayer Anthony Sayer | 13:23 UK time, Saturday, 22 August 2009

Comments

Listen Here, back in June, was our annual musical 'at home' - five shows in four days - free to all - and lots came - we show off all what we can do, and maybe convince a few more folk that there's fun to be had in our hallowed halls. Though, we missed out the world music category - ignoring Philip Glass' pronouncement, "World music is the new classical". The modern music bit of Listen Here ended up with pianist Stephen Osborne doing free improvisation, classic jazz, and jazz improvisation. World, folk, pop, jazz, classical.....impro outpro......what's the difference? Is it the same when you look underneath? Show me where it's at....

Read the rest of this entry

No, I didn't say anything

Post categories:

Anthony Sayer Anthony Sayer | 14:41 UK time, Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Comments

A long blog-silence this summer. Not that my nut isn't bursting with rant - I've just had too much DIY to do.

We did a lot of silence in our first two Proms. In the last movement of Philip Glass' Toltec Symphony massive resonant phrases are laid down - surrounded by silence - abandoned - not joined - no comment - like the Moai, the Easter Island statues - huge sonic monoliths (sonoliths) standing gaunt and mysterious against a lowering sky. Overwhelmingly meaningful - nobody knows their meaning. But, as we now know, they are the talismanic remnant of people who perished as they madly destroyed the environment that nurtured them. Or, like the ancient Toltec words sung by the choir - words uttered by an old man - recorded, but there was no-one left living to translate. Poignant.....

Read the rest of this entry

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.