I’ve realised over the past year that I quite enjoy seeing classical concerts, such as the Oxford Philomusica and a Proms concert last year or a concert in Venice this year, yet always seem to just say ‘well, that’d be nice’ instead of actually booking the ticket.
I think a reason for that is that I don’t know a lot of classical music – sure I listen to it a lot and have some favourite composers [Elgar, Einaudi and Gershwin come to mind], but asides from that I don’t know much more and most concerts I have seen advertised in the local area feature music I don’t even recognise. Of course this could largely be down to the fact that I have a terrible memory with all artists and song titles. I would recognise most popular songs of the past two decades, yet curiously would not be able to name the artist or song title.
The London Symphony Orchestra is something I have always wanted to see, I have listened to recordings on soundtracks, such as Star Wars, countless times and any time I have seen a video it always seemed so vibrant and lively yet always professional.
Tonight’s concert contained the following setlist of which I only recognised the name Bernstein, but not even the songs by him. There was also another song prefacing the interval which wasn’t mentioned in the program and that the clarinet player announced as ‘the song played instead of the wedding march during the wedding to my first wife':
- Adams – The Chairman Dances
- Bernstein – Three Dance Episodes from ‘On The Town’
- Copland – Clarinet Concerto
- Milhaud – La Creation du Monde Op.81a
- Bernstein orch. Foss – Prelude, Fugue & Riffs
- Ellington orch. Henderson – Harlem
Despite not even recognising the songs when they were played it was a fantastic concert. The whole concert was dynamic with the conductor practically dancing around, the clarinet player getting the audience involved with clicking fingers and telling an anecdote of the wedding to his first wife and overall the members of the orchestra seemed not only happy to be there, but also to play the music. There were a lot of smiles which made a big difference.
Looking forward, I am quite tempted to see the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in November playing the best of John Williams.