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Riding on her coat tails

August 11, 2007

Guardian Review

It wasn’t all doom and gloom in the Weekend Guardian today. After I’d recovered from the gay rights forum report, I skirted over various other pages until my eyes landed on a review of the BBC National Orchestra’s performance of Guto Puw’s commission “( … unless I open the door … )”.

I wrote a “review” * of that, I thought. I rather enjoyed it, in fact. After a tough day it was a real treat to revisit the Royal Albert Hall from the comfort of my leather sofa and listen to a piece of newly composed music which didn’t come with the same kind of demands as the supposed “classics” of orchestral music like Beethoven or Mozart.

I read the review in the Guardian and marvelled at how the writer had managed to describe Puw’s work so much more successfully than I did. All I do is say how much I enjoyed it and why, rarely giving out the technical information which so many quite rightly consider is appropriate to well-rounded journalism.

Not only was it fabulous writing, the reviewer seemed to largely enjoy the concert too. Yes, there may not have been as much to say about the Viola concerto but whoever this person was, he or she still enjoyed it.

I sat back in my chair in the garden, looked at the blue sky and smiled. Someone else felt the same way I did.

I looked back at the newspaper and looked for the name of the person who wrote. I was stunned. This was someone who was in the year below me at school. She sat in the viola section of the Suffolk Youth Orchestra when I played clarinet and percussion. We got drunk together on youth orchestra courses. We both sang in the choir at school. I helped her use Macromedia Dreamweaver.

Not only that, we’d both had the same music lessons from the same music teacher who introduced the music of John Cage to Suffolk schoolchildren twenty-odd years ago. We’d both listened to the same event and in our totally separate ways both commented on it too.

On a Saturday morning, sitting in the warming glow of the midday sun, here was another Proms-related moment which tapped into my past and made one concert this week all the more memorable.

Very special indeed.

* I use the term in it’s loosest sense, obviously.

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