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Archives for December 2009

Lucky Cheques

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Anthony Sayer Anthony Sayer | 14:02 UK time, Thursday, 10 December 2009

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That's it, our Bohemian Rhapsody's over. .....mine'll be a Pils, thank you. Weeks of Dvorak, Martinu and Janacek - and Janacek's Sinfonietta for the final flourish - a musical firework display, one of the most scintillating compositions ever written. Radiant reviews for the whole venture. Every piece in the series resounding with meaning - rejoicing in and celebrating Czech-ness - nationalistic but inclusive, welcoming everyone to the party. Lucky Czechs. The Sinfonietta - still sounding radical and modern - its original narrow agenda was to celebrate Czech liberation after WW1, but it has now become a world-wide party piece. (Incidentally, does anyone remember Crown Court? Daytime reality TV with a difference - fictional villains, but real juries and procedures. Sinfonietta was the theme music.....the arresting brass chords seemed to become the 'sound of justice' ringing out in millions of British households!) Our final concert also marked the anniversary of the re-opening of the Czech border. There is nothing narrow in the nationalism of these composers - their music is played everywhere - orchestras and audiences the world over revel in it. The Soviets scored an own goal in Czechoslovakia in 1968, because they picked on a small country with a world-based cultural identity. Could Scotland field a team of composers like these - composers from an area the size of Scotland with a wide ethnic range? So, who would be in our music squad? Other teams have done well: the Scottish Enlightenment team certainly beat the rest of the World - Robert Burns takes on the World by himself (NB he spoke Lowland Scots, and never wore a kilt) - the scientists started off well, but seemed to end up scattered abroad - the Glasgow Boys and the Colourists packed a punch. What does the SSO play when it wants to celebrate Scottishness?

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