Tag Archives: Prokofiev

Family prom

If I’d known that by having the wine and not drinking all of it, they could have poured it back into the bottles and returned it to the shop, thereby saving money, I would have. (This is obviously not true. The Hallé are suffering financially, but this was more by way of amusing idea to bring it home to us how frugal they are being.) But since I don’t drink wine, I didn’t. Hopefully they saved even more on that.

Because it’s all about saving money these days. That’s why we come and stuff envelopes for the Hallé, and it’s also why the only classical music concerts we go to tend to be our free reward ones. And I’m almost totally sure Andy Ryans was only joking when he said every pound saved goes towards his salary. Although, in a way that must be true.

The concert started with a Suite from Carmen, which was nice. You can’t beat The Toreadors, really. The only problem as I’ve mentioned before is that they have put double bass player Roberto Carrillo-García at the back.

Then for Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals they moved Roberto closer, which was great until that Mark Elder (Sir, I mean) came and stood in front of him. All I could see was the swirly top bit of his double bass peeking out of Sir Mark’s shoulder. He only shifted out of the way when it was Roberto’s solo in The Elephant. Which was lovely.

Mark Elder was there not to conduct, but to read the poems by Ogden Nash to go with the music. You’d think that on his day off he’d want to be off, but there he was. Right in front of Sr Carrillo-García. Admittedly, he was wearing holiday type clothes, although the Resident IT Consultant said he was being Saint-Saëns. Sir Mark. Not the Resident IT Consultant.

If I’d been Andrew Gourlay I’d have felt intimidated conducting in front of the ‘boss’, but he did well. (Though I still wonder quite how helpful all that waving is.) I’ve decided I quite like Carnival of the Animals. The audience was full of children, and I hope they liked it too. I often think that just because a piece has a more ‘childish’ title, doesn’t mean it appeals to children any more than other music.

It wasn’t just The Elephant which was enjoyable. The Cello solo was almost as good, and the weird piano pieces were funny. For someone who doesn’t do applause all that much, I clapped quite a bit, until I realised that with RSI that isn’t advisable.

The second half consisted of Ravel’s Mother Goose and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Suites, both of them, so presumably (she says hopefully) not the full works?

But speaking of full, the Bridgewater Hall was pleasingly full. Not totally, but nicely busy. And all those children will hopefully grow up and continue going to concerts. Hopefully the Bridgewater Hall will still be there for them.

Christmas stuffing

The witch couldn’t have got closer if she’d planned it. As we made our way down the aisle at the Bridgewater Hall on Thursday (and I’m not talking weddings here), I realised I was about to sit closer to my favourite double bass player than ever before. From my seat it was a very short distance to Roberto Carrillo-García. Daughter can’t see what I see in him, but then she’s very young.

The reason I hadn’t planned anything was that the Hallé stuffers received an invitation for an extra free concert with less than 24 hours to spare, and by some miracle the witch family were all available to make use of the offer, once we had extricated Daughter from school an hour early. A cancelled train (Thanks, Northern!) almost did for us, but we had determination on our side. Anyway, I reckon the late ticket offer was to test our dedication to the Hallé.

Not being the most knowledgeable on classical music, I went in the belief that I didn’t know any of the music. But I’m not quite that bad! It was a kind of Russian relay, with Tchaikovsky to begin with, and Prokofiev to finish off. I see from the programme notes that their lives overlapped by two years.

I know the Overture to Romeo and Juliet. Must be the iPod, as I hardly ever sit down with proper LPs or CDs nowadays. What’s more, I knew the Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op. 23, too. I’m amazed at myself. Nicely played by Polina Leschenko.

After the others gorged themselves on ice cream (I brought grapes) we had a Suite from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, so we stayed romantic and tragic. Even the first bit of that sounded familiar, or was I imagining Peter and the Wolf in it all?

Conductor Alexander Polianichko conducted well, I think, but I must confess to having paid more attention to Roberto C-G. There’s something about the double bass. I like that side of the orchestra. Tuba, trombone, double bass. And thanks to some rearranging of how the Hallé players sit now, R C-G is less far away.

I noticed that stuffing brothers D and G sat very near the lovely Polina Leschenko. And the ever beautiful Lyn Fletcher. Might have been coincidence..?