Category Archives: Culture(s)

The Guitar Whisperer

Don’t you love it when a hunch pays off? Having flagged up in a previous post Richard Durrant‘s appearance at The Brunton Theatre as a promising idea for a school outing, the evening exceeded all expectations. A party of 16 pupils from Campie and Wallyford enjoyed a marvellous and varied recital and spent an excited interval meeting Richard, asking him questions, seeing his guitars close up (and holding one) and having programmes autographed. We couldn’t have hoped for a more personable and encouraging performer who was genuinely delighted to see so many young, animated faces at a gig.

Featured in this picture is the signature model of an intriguing guitar with a beautiful sound, made by Gary Hearn. The pupils were impressed to hear that this particular one weighed in at £6,500, which must make their own ¾ sized guitar/case/book package seem a bargain at £30.

The staff at the Brunton were extremely helpful and friendly and, at the end of the evening, offered the pupils posters as souvenirs.

Many thanks to Sheila Laing, Iain Bruce, Debbie Beverage, Mrs. Fleming and Lesley Smith for their work in making the evening possible.

We look forward to a return visit of this wonderful and creative player and wish him luck for his trip to Paraguay where, in the late composer’s house, he is to launch his CD of music by Agustín Barrios entitled “The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

Why not visit Richard’s YouTube Channel – where you can also get an idea of the many captivating animations and films which form part of the programme?

Ghost Voices

Ever heard Bertolt Brecht sing? Visit 6:00 into this programme (while it lasts on iPlayer) to hear an extract from Mack The Knife, recorded in 1929.

If you’re interested in voices and can’t exactly place the face of the narrator in the photo (on iPlayer) – it’s Andy Serkis, who has played not only Ian Dury but Gollum (in Lord of the Rings).

Seeker

One of my favourite expressions, much used (perhaps coined) by the late, great Ken Campbell is seeker. Former Knox Academy pupil, Simon Thacker, certainly deserves that label. Aside from being a virtuoso performer he has, for some time now, sought out new things, often by combining contrasting genres. He describes a new project here:[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/XiF-uDqRwmw?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Hopefully there will be some local gigs soon?

Hommage a Tansman

My friend, Marek Pasieczny, sent a link to his latest, and thoroughly engaging, composition on video (see below). Tansman, a fellow Pole, emigrated to USA, where he was aided in his bid to settle there by Charlie Chaplin. I’ll also embed other videos by Marek. Some have already appeared in this blog but, in the hope that pupils will be more likely to explore them if they all appear together, I’ll repeat myself.

Best wishes, to all who drop in on this blog, for Christmas and New Year!

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http://www.youtube.com/user/TrustNooooo1

What are conductors for?

What are conductors for? This is a question often asked by those outside the world of music – and sometimes by those in it.

In the following three videos, Semyon Bychkov explains very articulately the collaborative and personal business of preparing for performance. There are some very interesting examples of his forensic research and some interesting points about a subject dear to my heart – the connections between music and language.

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If I’m entirely honest, I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of Bychkov until this morning when I heard him in a fascinating interview with Tom Service on approaching the music of Wagner – and the associated difficulties. A sucker for a nicely turned phrase, I noticed his gift for aphorism e.g. “in the end, the beauty of life is infinitely greater than the weaknesses of those who go through it.”

You can hear that interview here.

What is music for?

An interesting discussion topic, surely: today on Radio 3 at 12:15 and on listen again for 7 days.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vf567

The discussion takes place as part of Free Thinking – A Festival of Ideas 2010, the theme of which this year is, The Pursuit of Happiness.

An earlier discussion in the festival asked the question, is the book dead?

International Guitar Night

As part of next weekend’s Edinburgh International Guitar Festival, there will be an International Guitar Night in Duddingston Kirk (map here). The concert will features solos and ensemble pieces by:

Pino Forastiere:

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Alexandre Gismonti:

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Brian Gore:

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Why not forward this poster to anyone you feel might enjoy this evening?

IGN poster