Archive for December 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

December 31, 2007

Valkyrie(c)Hoffnung

with all best wishes for lots of wonderful music and experiences in 2008…

picture of a Valkyrie (c) Gerard Hoffnung — thanks!

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Merry Christmas audio!

December 16, 2007

[click on this link, or on the PLAY button below]

Different Carols (c) Jonathan Burton 2007

Here is a slightly bumpy computer-fairground-organ version of my Christmas Card arrangements, courtesy of Sibelius Kontakt Silver…

Happy listening!  It’s about eleven minutes long (sorry it isn’t divided into eight tracks).  See previous blog entry for details.

You may have to try it a few times and/or pause it a bit to let the downloading catch up with itself!  Technology, eh.

Many thanks to Gillian and David for the mulled wine and mince pies!  And to the other nine players last Wednesday, particularly Lysander for stepping into the breach at the last minute.  (Hilary, please get well soon.)

Once again, a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to all our listeners…

Merry Christmas Card!

December 13, 2007

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Here’s my 2007 Christmas Card!

It’s the first two pages of the (39-page) score of my Christmas carol arrangements for ten wind players – we’re still arguing about whether the word is ‘Decet’ or Dectet’ – which received their triumphant premiere play-through last night, to the accompaniment of mulled wine and mince pies.

There are eight movements:

1 – The Mediaeval One (Gaudete)
2 – The Basque one (Atoz, atoz)
3 – The French one (Il est né, le divin enfant)
4 – The Old English one (The Coventry Carol)
5 – The One About The Holly (from Cornwall)
6 – The Other French one (Nous voici dans la ville)
7 – The Other Mediaeval One (The Boar’s Head Carol)
8 – The Very Traditional One (Dies natalis tibi felicitatis)

No. 8 is actually a joke – it was Grahame (the 1st flute)’s birthday…

Now my challenge is to find a way to (a) convert the score into a sound file, and (b) put it on here for your delight!

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Phoenix concert (and also John Lill and The Soldier’s Tale)

December 6, 2007

Very quick one.  I wouldn’t normally write up a concert I was playing in (see previous post) – bad form, and difficult to tell what it’s like from inside – but various people have asked me to, so I will!

Phoenix Orchestra‘s leader Catherine Lindley was indisposed, and we were grateful to James Widden for stepping in at the last minute.

St Andrew’s, Holborn, perched on the end of Holborn Viaduct, is a very nice building to play in – yet another squareish 18th-century church like St Johns, Smith Square and St James, Piccadilly.  Very resonant, but flattering rather than muddying, as far as we could tell.  A small church, cosy enough to feel nicely full with an audience of mostly friends and relations.

No carpet to soak up the bassoon sound!  Hard black-and-white tiles instead (actually lino, though looking like marble).  The helpfully stepped floor made for good sight lines for us, and presumably ‘hearing lines’ for the audience as well.  The horns and brass sounded loud but not overpoweringly blarey.

The ‘rush-hour concert’ idea is a very good one.  Not too much sheer volume of stuff to slog through at rehearsals;  start at  6.30, in the pub by 8 (Ye Olde Mitre in Ely Place:  that’s another story…).

The Berlioz overture (Beatrice and Benedict, or ‘Bill and Ben’ as it’s known in the trade) went like a little rocket, Lev’s ‘safe’ opening tempo imperceptibly zizzing up until it was really exciting.  We were pretty precise, I’m glad to say, and it sounded to me as if there was some very nice woodwind playing going on, as well as crisp brass.

Then the Borodin ‘Steppes of Central Asia’, which was short and lovely – very atmospheric.  Smashing playing from Sue (flute) and Emma (cor anglais).

And finally (no interval), Dvořák’s 7th Symphony.   Speaking for myself, the ravages of the afternoon rehearsal eventually began to take their toll on lips and brain, but not until the last movement.  It’s a tremendous and underrated work (see my earlier comments) and we felt proud to be having a really good crack at it.

‘Crack’ being absolutely the wrong word for Duncan’s glorious horn solo in the slow moment – which he particularly asked me to mention here in contrast to his previous showing (again, see my earlier comments).

So – a great (short) evening, to which these comments don’t begin to do justice.

The same goes for two other recent musical experiences, which I didn’t write up on here (more…)

London Phoenix Orchestra — concert on Tuesday!

December 2, 2007

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www.phoenixorchestra.org