Friday 28 August 2009

Blog sign off

Today is my last at Britten Sinfonia, and what a great way to finish - I'm off to Glyndebourne this morning to see The Yellow Sofa. Way back in April 2007, when we were getting our digital act together, we thought Britten Sinfonia should have a blog and, for reasons I don't clearly remember, I took on the writing. Well, it's been brilliant fun trying to give a wider perspective on the orchestra's work, starting with our tour of South America (the very first proper entry being uploaded from Madrid airport at vast expense (it was pre-wi-fi)). Umpteen visits to Krakow, promotional visits to Spain and Asia, blogs on many of the multifarious composers we have commissioned, the tours around the UK, our collaborations with the Michael Clark Dance Company and the Royal Opera House, London Jazz Festival concerts, concerts in some of the most beautiful buildings in the country (not least our reegular haunts of Ely and Norwich Cathedrals and King's College Chapel here in Cambridge): it is a rich vein from which to draw, and I know the blog will continue to illuminate our work. I'm off to The Sixteen as Acting General Manager, so paths will cross...........

John Bickley

Monday 24 August 2009

The Yellow Sofa

There are two more performances of Julian Philip's new opera The Yellow Sofa at Glyndebourne, tomorrow and on Friday. I haven't seen it yet, but reports from colleagues and members of the orchestra suggest it is well worth trying to see. The libretto, by Edward Kemp, is adapted from a novella by one of Portugal's best loved writers, Eca de Queiros. It tells the story of Godofredo Alves, a small businessman who comes home from work one day to find his wife in the arms of his best friend and business partner. He determines at once to seek revenge. A tale of sex, a city and the seductive power of furniture.

Monday 17 August 2009

Cricket result

Closest match yet, but we still lost our third cricket match against Aldeburgh Music. Even with a brilliant wicket keeper (one of the Buddhist monks on our team from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery). It was a Twenty Five/25 match, and Aldeburgh scored 96 in their alloted overs, before getting us out for 72. Brilliant Suffolk afternoon, as light rain gave way to warm sunshine. There are some pictures of the Snape mandala on On an Overgrown Path, the cricket being a short break from the intensive work its creation takes. I'll add some cricket photos in a day or two.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Monks of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery return for a cricket match

We welcome back our friends the Monks of the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery for our annual Britten Sinfonia vs. Aldeburgh Music cricket match, taking place this afternoon at Sudbourne, nr. Orford, in Suffolk. You can see them above at last year's match in Cambridge. The Monastery was founded in Tibet in the 15th century and re-established in exile in South India three decades ago.
Whilst here for the match the monks are also giving a concert in Snape Maltings tomorrow evening: 'the sacred world of Tibet is filled with the chanting of Buddhist texts, the recitation of mantras, the ringing of bells and cymbals, the blowing of long horns and the beating of drums.' There is also a programme of workshops, and on Sunday they will perform the Sand Mandala Striking Ceremony. My photo below shows the equivalent event outside King's College Chapel, a few days after last year's match.

Monday 10 August 2009

Pianos Day: first reviews

Geoff Brown in The Times on yesterday's Proms. I'll add more reviews as they emerge. Here's The Guardian one, just published.

Our BBC Prom

The sound (and view) might not have been perfect from my seat in our Loggia Box yesterday, but there was a fantastic atmosphere at our Prom yesterday. You can't really beat a sold out Albert Hall, especially when there are alot of family groups, excited children, and a packed Arena. All three pairs of piano soloists were good, but the Labeque sisters have that little extra star quality. Time was when admitting to enjoy their performances was akin to liking Girls Aloud; but that inverted snobbery seems to have waned - their experience and delight in entertaining shone through. Anyway, you can judge for yourself if you missed the live transmission: a few clicks via our website news pages will take you to the BBC iPlayer link to the broadcast.

Friday 7 August 2009

A breath of fresh air?

Conductor Charles Hazlewood's article in the Guardian the other day certainly seems pretty ironic here, when last month we actually played to more people outdoors than inside concert halls. It is, I realise, the silly season, but as there is increasingly limited coverage of serious music in the press, you would think editors could commission better-researched pieces. Traffic on our twitter feed overwhelmingly disagrees with him, too.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Morlot and Meredith on In Tune

Conductor Ludovic Morlot, who joins Britten Sinfonia for our BBC Prom on Sunday afternoon, will be on In Tune on BBC Radio 3 on Thursday evening at around 7pm, discussing with composer Anna Meredith her new work Left Light which receives its first performance in the concert.

Monday 3 August 2009

Lidija and Sanja Bizjak

It is the week of our BBC Prom, when we are performing with three pairs of piano soloists, including Lidija and Sanja Bizjak. Full details are here.