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Time for Taverner...

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra | 10:31 UK time, Friday, 6 November 2009


Taverner... What a mammoth undertaking.. 1 Opera, 1 Conductor - 2 Acts, 8 days, 11 soloists, 56 hours of rehearsal... 98 players, 112 choir members, 1 performance and 1 broadcast - to the world..... but it is worth it... I think unashamedly... YES!

What a thought provoking masterpiece.. the more you look at it, the more it makes you not only delve head first into Taverner's 16th century world, but also of the late 1950's when it was written (before the liberalising 60's).. It also it makes you think of religion and the persecuted and persecutor, and reformation and ransacked monasteries, lives destroyed and rapidly changing times.. in rifely political times. How things don't change. The counter point and music in the piece, and the way it changes from one half to the next... and shifts through the opera... subtle and clever.

Talking to Max - he says that it is like a window back in time..holding up a mirror and seeing yourself 40 years ago... but what a masterpiece.. and Max can remember every word (he wrote the Libretto as well!).

There is quite a set up in City Halls.....don't quite know how the BBC SSO's stage managers have fitted it in.. but they have...... 2 stage bands on a huge stage extension, a massive array of percussion, organs and other keyboards...offstage musicians and singers... there will be special lighting and a printed libretto, and all recorded for BBC Radio 3 - I am reliably told there are 70 microphones around the hall! - (broadcast will be on Opera on 3 on 28th November at 6pm).

My favourite piece of percussion is the Bench Grinder which is used in the second act. They are trying to get harder metal as the soft metal creates sparks not loud noises which are needed!.. You still have to watch out for the sparks... just as well the trombones in front are protected....! I like that the Jester has a Jingle Stick - tall like a toy horse to ride.. not sure if we will be able to use it though - because of the noise when it bangs on the hollow stage.. it is being recorded....!

It will be quite a concert - I am sure one that Glasgow will not forget..... Opera of really the very highest standard.

Andrew Trinick


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