Friday, 11 September 2015

Promtastic

We're heading home from the Albert Hall where Jarvis Cocker was hosting a late night Prom with the BBC Philharmonic. I'm proud as punch to report that the orchestral arrangements were done by Fiona, and even prouder to report that her work was absolutely stunning. The evening was esoteric and eccentric in the extreme. Mr Cocker sang four songs whilst introducing a series of pieces from the orchestral repertoire which were loosely linked by the theme of the sea. There were snippets of recorded documentary interviews as well, all from people who'd experienced haunting and near death experiences under water, including a free diver and two blokes who'd got into terrible trouble in a submarine. Musical excerpts from the orchestra ranged from the deeply evocative Sailing By from the Shipping Forecast through Jaws to a rather stunning rendition of The Aquarium from Carnival of the Animals. I'd forgotten quite what a sublime piece of music that was. I'm not yet convinced that the BBC Phil is the greatest orchestra in the world, but love the fact that they get to do these wacko concerts which bring classical music to much more diverse audiences.

Apart from Fiona's arrangements, which stole the show, the other highlight was a two-minute virtuoso organ improvisation by Richard Hills which needed to be heard to be believed. I think many composers, me included, shy away from writing anything particularly interesting for the organ. Moments like Hills' extemporisation tonight, which made me so excited tears started streaming from my eyes, remind us what a powerful, versatile and multifaceted instrument the organ is.

The Prom was such a lovely way to end a tiring day, which started at 8am with a drive up to Hendon where I deposited Nathan outside what can only be described as a suburban town house where his root canal procedure took place. The infection, the orthodontist told him, was fairly extreme, based on the fact that the tooth bled with great alacrity. Too much information? I'm just pleased it's all over.

Nathan arrived back home, drooling like a trooper from the corner of his mouth, rather sooner than anticipated, whilst I was doing a weepy on-camera interview for the documentary project.

It was a glorious day weather-wise and we drove down to Kentish Town in baking hot sunshine. It seemed a shame to have to work this afternoon, but work we did, like good little boys, until it was time to amble into central London to meet Fiona for some Italian food before heading to the Albert Hall, where this blog post begins. Do feel free to start reading all over again...

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