Sibelius’s Second Symphony

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Isn’t this an awesome picture of Sibelius? Just go and do an google image search for him and you’ll see so many images that show so much personality. This picture doesn’t really have anything to do with the Second Symphony but I liked it so much that I had to share it. Continue reading

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Sibelius’s Violin Concerto

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My orchestra was lucky enough to be accompanying a stellar violinist in our concert. Sibelius’s Violin Concerto is one of the most popular concertos in the repertoire, and it was lovely to play (even if it takes alot of careful counting!) Here’s the note I wrote for the programme (for a concert with Scene with Cranes and the Second Symphony). Continue reading

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

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I recently returned from a trip to Amsterdam, where I decided I was going to take the opportunity as a solo traveller to be completely selfish and just do things I wanted to do. Usually one of the great things about travelling is doing things with other people, sometimes things you wouldn’t have chosen to do yourself (here’s looking at you, glacier heli-hike). But this time, as a response to some nonsense in day-to-day life, I decided to be completely selfish and do what I wanted. Which obviously meant visiting the Concertgebouw three times in three days…. Continue reading

Mahler’s Fourth Symphony

IMG_5176I always felt, perhaps strangely, that I discovered Mahler for myself. I’d never even heard of Mahler before I went to study Music at University (thinking back, weirdly I didn’t really know very much about classical music at all…). Back in Leicester during the University holidays, I went to see the Philharmonia perform Mahler’s Fourth Symphony (for just £4) and fell in love with it instantly. Continue reading

Bernstein’s 100th birthday

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I haven’t posted much recently because I’ve barely had time to blog. One of the reasons is that I’ve been working towards a concert with my amateur orchestra. I’m on the committee so there’s been lots of organising, and lots of rehearsals with lots of practice in between doesn’t leave much time for writing. However I did manage to find some time to write the programme notes for the two pieces, Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and Mahler’s Fourth SymphonyContinue reading

Vienna’s Musikverein

IMG_4967In my teens and twenties, you would know exactly where to find me every 1st January – in front of the TV watching the New Year’s concert from the Musikverein in Vienna. My family would always get together on the first day of the year (whatever our post-New-Year state) to toast the new year, have a roast dinner, and most certainly not do any laundry (I think it’s bad luck?) My grandad loved to watch the concert, and as the musical grandchild (one sister is a wordsmith, the other an artist), I was the one to sit and watch it with him. Although hours of Strauss waltzes isn’t the sort of thing I’d choose to listen to, it was nice to watch it with him and it became something of a tradition. Continue reading