Quick debrief of Monday’s concert at The Barbican with some pictures. We sang stuff like Handel's Zadok the Priest and other of his coronation pieces. Pretty spectacular pieces sung in a pretty spectacular location.
Orchestra, adult choir and children’s choir on stage
Here’s Howard Goodall introducing it all
Howard Goodall (Blackadder, Red Dwarf, etc) is the National Ambassador for Singing, tasked with getting children involved in music and singing in schools. So far he has 15,000 of the 20,000 schools in the UK signed up to the scheme. This is a Good Thing. Listening to music is ok and quite pleasant on the whole, but actually doing it – making and creating music, singing especially – is one of the most uplifting things a human being can do. A fact that is largely forgotten in the ubiqutous immersive soundworld of ipods and tv that we now find ourselves in.
Basses and Altos and Orchestra
I am in the block of basses; seven trillion pounds to the first person who spots me.
Sophie Junker, soprano and Philip Canner, bass-baritone
As well as doing five pieces by Handel, there was a specially composed piece by Harvey Brough, which took themes of Purcell and created a new setting for The Fairy Dream section of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Sophie & Philip above were Titania and Bottom. Both were very good (as were the other two soloists who were recent graduates of the Guildhall School of Music), but did I detect a bit of star quality with Sophie?? You heard it here first.
As mentioned the real purpose of the project is to get schoolchildren interested and participating in music, and here is part of the 150 strong choir of children. They were all from innercity schools – paired with the city firms who made up the adult choir – and were excellent. The piece of music Harvey wrote for them wasn’t patronising or ‘easy’, it was a proper piece of music in which they played a key role. And they sung it brilliantly. Props to the kids!
Nicholas Kenyon runs ting’s round there at the Barbican. Here he is at the end of the concert saying how splendid it all was and how important the project is, and how the Barbican and the Guildhall are proud to be supporting it.
Too right. The whole thing was a big success – musically I think the massed amateur choirs of us and the kids got away with it, the orchestra played brilliantly, the music was varied and interesting, and a large number of children who hadn’t even been to a classical concert before got to perform at a professional level in one of London’s Premier venues.
Win, win, win, win.
It’s just a pity the world can’t be a bit more like this more of the time.
Richard Frostick – conductor
Richard was great: someone with a true passion for music and the ability to communicate that passion – oh, and to control 300 singers and an orchestra to great effect!
Just don’t get your notes wrong, ok?