Could I remember his name? No, I couldn’t. Hanging in the foyer of the Bridgewater Hall on Saturday night, waiting for the Resident IT Consultant to park cheaply, I noticed the Hallé’s marketing no. 1 greeting people. By the time we were in the circle bar with our complimentary envelope stuffing drinks, him making his annual speech, I recalled he’s Andy Ryans. He was grateful for our efforts, as usual, and very worried, which is less usual.
Andy apologised for swivelling round as though he had some horrible rotational disease, but that’s speaking to a spread-out group of people for you. And yes, we’ll call him if and when we have caught a politician to discuss money and funding with. There was going to be a bonus piece of music in the concert, which Andy said he had heard during rehearsals earlier.
There was a lovely dog – although not at the drinks gathering – with his own bowl and mat. You don’t often see dogs coming to hear Beethoven.
The conductor, Rory Macdonald, has just joined the ranks of doctors and policemen by making me feel ancient. He began by thanking the sponsors of the concert, who have sponsored generously for 21 years, which will be approximately the same number of years that Rory has been around. Then he kicked off with Fingal’s Cave, which was nice and Scottish for both the Resident IT Consultant and for Rory himself, one presumes.
I’m rather less happy with the new arrangement of the Hallé themselves. I’m used to having Roberto Carillo-García closer to me than that high court judge type position the double basses now occupy. It does very little for the ogling of my favourite double bass player.
Although I did see more of Erika Öhman on percussion this way. I used to meet her mother sometimes, years ago. (Hejsan Erika!) She did some good work on those copper saucepan-lookalikes in Beethoven’s fifth. Nice symphony.
Had time for some musing during the concert. I’m not the best classical concert goer in he world. But I do like going. And I hope that no funding crises will stop me from being able to go once in a while. Hallé is a good orchestra, but above all, they are ‘my’ orchestra. Hence my annoyance when people don’t sit where they ought to.
I had also promised the Resident IT Consultant Bruckner, but he turned out to be Bruch. Understandable confusion for someone who struggles with Liverpool and Birmingham. Bruch’s violin concerto no. 1 was very ably played by Sophia Jaffé, who wore a really lovely dress, too. I thought they would never stop clapping after her violin playing.
Since they didn’t give her any flowers after the Bruch, it made sense that Sophia should return to play the bonus piece, Beethoven’s romance no. 2. Andy had said it was ‘one of the most beautiful pieces’ he ever heard. The man was right. It wasn’t bad at all.