Thursday 29 September 2011

The Fire of the Prometheus Legend

After my afternoon visit to The Barbican on Saturday 24th September 2011 I made my way to the Royal Festival Hall via the Central and Bakerloo lines for the London Philharmonic Orchestra's concert of The Prometheus Legend.

The programme consisted of The Creatures of Prometheus (excerpts) = Beethoven, Mar'eh for Violin and Orchestra - Pintscher, Prometheus (Symphonic Poem No.5) - Liszt and Prometheus, Poem of Fire - Scriabin.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra performed with Vladimir Jurowski - Conductor, Julia Fischer - Violin, Igor Levit - Piano, London Philharmonic Choir and Lucy Carter - Lighting Designer. The evening gave us three views of Prometheus and a new violin concerto.

In Greek mythology Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from the gods, by capturing the sparks from their chariot wheels, and gave it to mankind. He was punished by being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten by an eagle until he was eventually rescued by Heracles.

The concert began with a brilliant performance of excerpts from Beethoven's early ballet The Creatures of Prometheus with Vladimir Jurowski and the Orchestra on top form. We were then treated to the UK premiere of Matthias Pintscher's Mar'eh for Violin and Orchestra as Julia Fischer and her violin mastered this difficult piece in triumphant style. Mar'eh is a Hebrew word that means face or sign. The composer says that it can also mean the aura of a face, a beautiful vision.

After the interval with the Orchestra now all dressed in white shirts and tops there was Liszt's Symphonic Poem No.5 before the dramatic finale of Scriabin's Poem of Fire complete with light show designed by Lucy Carter. With great support from the London Philharmonic Choir and Igor Levit on piano this was a very spectacular show with the constant changing colours of the lights which finished in white brilliance.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

South Pacific at The Barbican

On Saturday 24th September 2011 I made my way to London by train eagerly looking forward to my visit to The Barbican to attend the matinee performance of The Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific. After a lunch of spinach gnocchi garlic and sage cream, parmesan crust, tomato and basil salad and crusty bread at The Barbican Food Hall I was ready for all the excitement and drama of this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.

With a brilliant cast including Paulo Szot as Emile De Becque, Samantha Womack as Ensign Nellie Forbush, Alex Ferns as Luther Billis, Daniel Koek as Lieutenant Cable, Loretta Ables Sayre as Bloody Mary and Elizabeth Chong as Liat this was always going to be a splendid afternoon's entertainment.

The story of the American navy trying to find a breakthrough against the Japanese in the Pacific during the Second World War complete with romance, comedy, suspense and classic songs like There Is Nothin' Like A Dame, I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and Happy Talk this is a musical that moves your heart and gets your feet tapping.

Paulo Szot singing Some Enchanted Evening was amazing while Samantha Womack was very convincing as the nurse from Little Rock, Arkansas. The issues of race and social issues are part of South Pacific as both Nellie Forbush with Emile De Becque and Lieutenant Cable with Liat try to come to terms of how their relationships can fit into their worlds.

I must admit I had some enchanted afternoon at The Barbican Theatre and I very much enjoyed my journey to the world of Rodgers and Hammerstein. A revival well worth making taking us back to the golden era of Broadway musicals.

Thursday 22 September 2011

The Madness of George III at Norwich Theatre Royal

On Monday 19th September 2011 I attended The Madness of George III by Alan Bennett at Norwich Theatre Royal. The King was played by David Haig as we were taken back to London,Winsdor and Kew in 1788-89.

King George III was struck down by a series of physical and psychiatric symptoms which meant he couldn't carry on his duties as sovereign and an Act of Regency loomed. Doctors were summoned to give a diagnosis of the King's illness including Dr Francis Willis who would recommend fresh air, regular exercise and farm work in the Lincolnshire countryside.

With wonderful costumes and great use of the stage scenery we were treated to an amazing evening's entertainment. Complete with the music of Handel there were many laughs throughout the play which resulted in a standing ovation at the end. You would be mad to miss it!

Sunday 18 September 2011

Come and Sing at St. Peter Mancroft Church

On Saturday 17th September 2011 Norwich based Viva Voce Singers put on a wonderful concert of music at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich complete with a Come and Sing Choir.

Directed by Jody Butler the programme for the evening was Ave Maria, O vos omnes, Jesu dulcis memoria, O quam gloriosum - de Victoria. The Gipsy's Wedding Day, Dalvisa (Swedish Folk Song Melody), Country Gardens - Grainger. Zadok the Priest - Handel and Gloria in D RV589 - Vivaldi.

It was brilliant to hear the Viva Voce Singers perform the Tomas Luis de Victoria works in this historic Norwich church. O how glorious is the kingdom in which all the saints rejoice with Christ. Clad in robes of white, they follow the Lamb wherever he goes.

When it came to Percy Grainger we all had smiles on our faces and great fun was had by all. Country Gardens being a big crowd pleaser.

It was then time for the Come and Sing Choir to join the Viva Voce Singers to create a big wall of sound which filled the whole church. Everyone was singing with great enthusiasm first with Handel's Zadok the Priest followed by Vivaldi's Gloria.  We all rejoiced in the moment on another very enjoyable night of glorious music at St. Peter Mancroft Church. 

Saturday 10 September 2011

Sounds of Norwich Cathedral

I can hear the violin being played at Norwich Cathedral. Faster and faster the sounds go around my head. Handel and Bach with notes from long ago that still excite. My hearts starts to beat in rhythm to the music, full of thrills complete with sonatas and concertos.

Oh Mr Piano man play some Franz Liszt maybe a Hungarian Rhapsody that will fill the nave with pretty notes that will have my fingers tapping. A musical poem on the keyboards that gets my brain thinking.

For a thousand years beautiful noises have echoed around this splendid building, from the time of The Normans to the present day. Take a bow to the loud applause as the crowd asks for an encore of Dvorak's Three Slavonic Dances.

Friday 9 September 2011

The Brook Street Band at the Eaton Concert Series

On Sunday 4th September 2011 I made my way to St. Andrew's Church, Eaton, Norwich for the first of the Sunday afternoon concerts in the Eaton Concert Series for the 2011/12 season. The opening date saw a performance from The Brook Street Band performing a splendid programme of Baroque Music including works from Handel, Bach and Vivaldi.

The programme for the concert was Violin sonata in D major Op 5 No 1 - Corelli, Cello sonata in C major Op 3 No 10 - Jacchini, Lascia ch'io pianga - Handel, Cello sonata in B flat major No 1 RV 47 - Vivaldi, Violin sonata in F major HWV 370 - Handel, Allemande from Partita No 4 in D major BWV 828 - Bach, Cello sonata in D Major - Telemann and Violin sonata in D minor Op 5 No 12 La Follia - Corelli.

Farran Scott on Baroque violin, Tatty Theo on Baroque cello and Carolyn Gibley on Harpsichord provided us with wonderful performances of the highest quality which were greatly enjoyed by the audience. With great enthusiasm and expert commentary between works The Brook Street Band was an inspired choice to open this season's Eaton Concert Series.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

An Autumnal Affair!

On Saturday 3rd September 2011 it was An Autumnal Affair at Norwich Arts Centre with Clutter City complete with DIY craft fair with stalls, workshops, live music and food.

I had a delicious veggie burger for lunch before enjoying the music of the Tiger MC's and Chad Mason. This beautiful Norwich venue is always full of life on Clutter City Saturdays complete with fun and laughter.

Chad Mason wanted us to all stand up when we are happy and to sit down when we are sad. He may have been a long way from home but he always knows that he will be welcome at the Norwich Arts Centre Cafe Bar.

The Tiger MC's put us all in a happy clappy mood with their folk pop that had us floating on air across the Cafe Bar. A brilliant afternoon was had by all at Norwich's number one DIY Craft Fair.

Thursday 1 September 2011

The Hot Seats having fun!

On Monday night I attended The Hot Seats gig at Norwich Arts Centre. The band from Richmond, Virginia are a mixture of Bluegrass, Old-Time, Skiffle and Jug Band. Country Music with a smile and lots of fun!

With fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, double bass, drums and washboard we were all entertained with old fashioned sounds with songs like River Stay Away From My Door and Sam Stone. It was great to witness a washboard being played on stage.

A night for beards and checked shirts at Norwich Arts Centre when we all celebrated a Bluegrass Party and nobody cared if there were rats in the kitchen!