Friday, 19 September 2008

Not the Last Night of the Proms

Having been asked - weeks ago - to compile a list of films for the Gadjo Dilo film festival (Dilo, CB1 - one 'd') and failed miserably, I've jumped on the favourite music bandwagon. Here's an eclectic list of choral masterworks, if ever there was one. 

First, Dream of Gerontius. I know, I know - it 'stinks of incense'. And nobody believes in God any more. But nobody believes in Wotan, Loki, Thor and all the other inhabitants of Valhalla; nor did they when Wagner set them all to music, and that doesn't make the Ring any less impressive. Anyway, Elgar, and the Dream. Elgar had a habit of setting bad words, so I'm not allowing that to count against him, either. And besides, he wasn't the only one - Walt Whitman, for goodness sake? What were you thinking of Vaughan-Williams et al? But the real reason Elgar's masterpiece is number one is this: I've sung it, many times. Why, I even find I have recorded it! Of course, what I mean is, if you're lucky and your hi-fi is absolutely bloody brilliant, you'll hear me singing slightly flat in amongst the other thousands of basses. We (the Liverpool Phil) joined forces with the Huddersfield Choral Soc for God's sake! 

I always fancied being a classical musician; I played the double-bass once, but gave that up at the same time as I gave up going to school. So sitting behind a real, live professional orchestra, watching them make an enormous din in something like the Elgar, then making an even bigger din yourself and getting the applause (and record contracts) on the back of the hard work of the real musicians, people paid to play, people who practised when they should have been out playing football or cricket and are now so good they can sit and flick through car mags in their 125-bar rests before picking up their trumpet (it was always the brass) and nonchalantly playing a solo phrase to musical perfection, or people who use the interval bell as their cue to order one more round of drinks (brass, again) well... it was a huge thrill. And never more so than when singing this. 

13 comments:

Jennysmith said...

Hi there

What a lovely, detailed post. You are obviously very passionate about music and this comes through in your text.

But tell me, why are you soon to be an ex-unpublished author?

JS

Gadjo Dilo said...

Ah, excellent, now we're getting to know you! I always thought that I liked Elgar but only a bit, until we* sung some settings of Russian songs that he'd composed. They were right up my street, surprisingly dark and profound. I must seek out the Dream of Gerontius, for I confess that I've never heard it.

* The Open University Choir. Not exactly the dizzy heights of the Huddersfield Choral Soc, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

Kevin Musgrove said...

One of my mates played the double bass in the school orchestra in the 70s. I'll leave you to picture the poor fool trying to that that home on the school bus.

The Dotterel said...

God, that wasn't me, was it??

Kevin Musgrove said...

No, but you have my sympathy!

The Dotterel said...

Dizzy heights be damned, Gadj. Anything to do with the OU is fine by me (as a somewhat undistinguished alumnus!).

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hey Mr Dotterel, hurray!! To repeat what I just wrote on my own blog: Do you know the OU choir? Have you also wandered the groves of academe on the campus at Milton Keynes, that city of dreaming spires?

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Did you watch "Maestro" on BBC? What do you reckon to it? It had me hooked anyway.

Annie Bright said...

Thank you for visiting my blog - good luck with your first novel!
:-)

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

everyone believes in god, even the ones that hate him

French Fancy said...

Of course I'm not going to leave anything relating to your interesting post about singing, music, Elgar etc. No, I'm going to compliment you on My Laugh Of The Day when I read your interests on your profile page. Classic.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Why soon-to-be-ex-unpublished? Share! Post the manuscript! Sorry about my Keira Knightley comments, I will now be able to say I DO know of a man who finds her attractive, and why not.

disa said...

徵信社,徵信,徵信,徵信社,外遇,尋人,徵信公司,徵信,抓姦,徵信,徵信社,外遇,抓姦,尋人,徵信社,徵信,抓 姦,抓姦,外遇,尋人,徵信公司,徵信,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,外遇,抓姦,尋人,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,外遇,尋人,徵信公司,徵信社,抓姦,徵信,外遇,徵信社,尋人,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信,徵信社,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,外遇,尋人,徵信公司,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,情趣用品,情趣,抓姦