The Story So Far, with Conductor John Wilson

From August, 2018. Cantara, former ASCAP solfeggist and 70s porn actress turned screenplay writer, has fallen hopelessly in love with a man at the other end of the world, an English, middle-ranking orchestra conductor—who plays, on the side, Golden Age of Hollywood music and The Great American Songbook—by the name of John Wilson.

John Wilson Proms.jpeg
The Queen of Heaven has her eye on you, John.


Not because he’s a fellow creator (he doesn’t create, but reconstructs, orchestrates and arranges the music of others)—not because of his looks (he’s peaky, scrawny, blinky; his gray-green eyes lack luster; he’s got a facial tic, pores like craters, lousy posture, enormous feet, the limbs of a stick insect and the hands of a hod carrier; his nose is an equilateral triangle; his famous cleft chin, supposedly his best feature, always looks slightly askew; his ultra-short mousy hair can’t conceal the fact he’s already going gray; he sweats like a stevedore on the podium; and for the past few years he’s taken to wearing geek glasses)—and certainly not for his intellect (his fatuous pronouncement about the needlessness of lyrics in The Great American Songbook makes me want to smack the back of his head like the whippersnapper he is and send him home with a note).

So what is it about him?* I’ve only been aware of his existence since 30 April and in love with him since 4 May, 2018; since then my feelings have been an insane mixture of tenderness, gratitude, annoyance, and lust. The tenderness I understand: I’ve spent enough time in Hollywood to understand the position he’s in… As far as gratitude, here’s his concert version of “The Trolley Song” using the original 1944 orchestration(!)— thank you thank you thank you, John. Even the raging lust I get.

But whenever John gets himself in the way of the music it drives me nuts. It’s crystal clear to me the times he does this because I’m in love with him, dammit, and because he’s a musician I pay attention to the music. Truth to tell, the only times John really gets himself in the way are when he’s conducting his own hand-picked group which is dedicated mostly to music from Golden Hollywood & The Great American Songbook, and cannily named The John Wilson Orchestra.


Listen to John’s new orchestra the SINFONIA OF LONDON here


Whether he gets himself in the way indeliberately or on purpose I cannot entirely tell, but I’m starting to. With a little patience he isn’t that hard to read, my bonny John Wilson. After countless times listening to his recordings and broadcasts; pouring over his interviews; watching him conduct (in video clips, mainly from the annual BBC Proms); watching him conduct other orchestras besides his own (ditto); and, most important, learning to separate the showman from the musician, I’m starting to understand his type of intelligence and his musical capability, which is actually pretty sizeable. His ear (the way he hears things, not his purported perfect pitch) is intriguing and his industriousness is admirable. I am definitely not buying into the PR excess—he is not “a superstar”, “a guru”, “charismatic”, “legendary”, “a conducting icon” or, God help us, as proclaimed by the BBC, “the nation’s favorite” (!!!). But his musicianship at times is kiiind of brilliant.

Part 2 “His Limits” here or below.

* Update 10 August 2019: I’ve just read up on what it is about him, and now I’ve got science to back me up. It’s John’s fault.


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The Story So Far: Or, Conductor John Wilson—His Limits

Anyroad, like a good Dr Watson I have compiled a list:


Listen to John’s new orchestra the SINFONIA OF LONDON here


JOHN WILSON – HIS LIMITS (Updated September 2021)

john-wilson-rosza-2-copy.jpeg

Knowledge of/affinity for/talent with:

All the rest is just Cantara trying to sort out where bonny John fits into her inner life. Which as it turns out is in every nook, every cranny

Part 1 “Dopamine” here or above.


Listen to John’s new orchestra the SINFONIA OF LONDON here


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My 2012 Memoir, A Poet from Hollywood: Love, Insanity, Stephen Gyllenhaal, and the Creative Process

Reprint, originally published 2012. Available free, permanently, for download here from PINY Press; and for online reading at Academia, Issuu, or Scribd.

A Poet from Hollywood small

Give a Girl a Break (MGM, 1952): The Movie That Clinches My 3-Degrees Connection to English Conductor John Wilson

From Simona Wing to Gerard Damiano to Helen Wood to Andre Previn to John Wilson—Cantara’s three degrees from her beloved conductor.

Julie Andrews, Jon Cypher in Cinderella 1957Give a Girl a Break (trailer here) is a US 1953 musical comedy film starring Debbie Reynolds and the dance team of Marge and Gower Champion. Helen Wood, Richard Anderson, Kurt Kaszner and a young Bob Fosse have featured roles. At only 88 minutes, Give a Girl a Break shows residual elements of the big project it started out to be, with a passable score by Burton Lane and Ira Gershwin, direction by Stanley Donen, and musical direction by Andre Previn.


Degree rule: You have to’ve personally worked with the person in the next degree. I worked with Damiano in his 1981 porn classic Beyond Your Wildest Dreams as Simona Wing; Damiano wrote and directed 1972’s Deep Throat, which Helen Wood (as Dolly Sharp) was in; Helen Wood co-starred in the musical Give a Girl a Break, on which the musical director was Andre Previn; Previn worked on the 2012 Proms My Fair Lady with my beloved John Wilson.

Above Marge, Debbie and Helen: The overture to the 2012 Proms My Fair Lady, with John conducting The John Wilson Orchestra in his own arrangement of Andre Previn’s orchestration of the film score.



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Pinoy Alert: The Gold at Olympics 2021 + A Film Trailer You as a Filipino Have Got to See

The Philippines have never won the gold in 97 years until now—consequently, we get to hear The Philippine National Anthem (Julián Felipe-José Palma, 1899; lyrics below) played at the Olympics for the very first time. So I went over to YT to find a good version of the national anthem (which I once used to be able to sing not only in English but Tagalog learned phonetically) and I found THIS on YT and it’s—it’s—well, it’ll make you want to swell with pride if you’re a true Pinoy. Really. It’ll knock your socks off. For all you others: This is a very tuneful, very singable national anthem entitled “Lupang Hinirang” and it’s placed very dramatically and effectively in this short produced by the big broadcast company in the PI.

Lapu-Lapu Beheads MagellanYes, that’s Lapu-Lapu beheading Magellan. You have to understand, we are a romantic but fierce people.
[Here’s the audio of the short above]

Bayang magiliw
Perlas ng silanganan
Alab ng puso
Sa dibdib mo’y buhay

Lupang Hinirang
Duyan ka nang magiting
Sa manlulupig
Di ka pasisiil

Sa Dagat at bundok sa simoy
At sa langit mo’y bughaw
May dilag ang tula
At awit sa paglayang minamahal
Ang kislap ng watawat mo’y tagumpay na nagniningning
Ang bituin at araw niya’y kailanpama’y di magdidilim

Lupa ng araw ng luwalhati’t pagsinta
Buhay ay langit sa piling mo
Aming ligaya nang pag
May mang-aapi


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Directed by My Old Boss, Rouben Mamoulian: The Room at the Inn Scene in Queen Christina (MGM, 1933) Just for the Man I Love, Conductor John Wilson

“I have been memorizing this room. In the future, in my memory, I shall live a great deal in this room.”

Garbo ChristinaFind this scene on my YT channel here and apologies for the quality of the vid but it was the best available. Underscoring is by the esteemed 1st music director at MGM, Herbert Stothart. Stothart’s adorable “Donkey Serenade” is featured in The MGM Jubilee Overture, written in 1954 by 2nd music director Johnny Green and restored to the repertoire by my bonny. I’m moving to your rhythm, John.


The complete film QUEEN CHRISTINA directed by my old boss, Rouben Mamoulian (MGM 1933), can be viewed here



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“Bird Songs at Eventide” by Eric Coates, Sung by Kathryn Rudge, Just for My Bonny 2022 Gramophone Award Winner, John Wilson

John mi vida, white-hot flame of my heart: In celebration of your latest award, I’m serenading you tonight with a song I know you know, because you’ve played it and I’ve sung it, and somewhere in that magical Music Room out there, you and I are playing and singing it together.

My John Wins Another AwardAbove John, his award, and a Chandos exec: Eric Coates’s enduring 1926 sheet music hit, “Bird Songs at Eventide” sung by Liverpool-born mezzo Kathryn Rudge, played by RAM professor James Baillieu.

Here also are the lyrics, which were written by the father of your old housemate:

Over the quiet hills 
Slowly the shadows fall; 
Far down the echoing vale 
Birds softly call; 
Slowly the golden sun 
Sinks in the dreaming west; 
Bird songs at eventide 
Call me to rest.

Love, though the hours of day 
Sadness of heart may bring, 
When twilight comes again 
Sorrows take wing; 
For when the dusk of dreams 
Comes with the falling dew, 
Bird songs at eventide 
Call me to you.

~Harry Rodney Bennett (1890-1948), writing as Royden Barrie

Listen to John’s new orchestra the SINFONIA OF LONDON here



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Paris Trout with Dennis Hopper and Barbara Hershey, Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, 1991

paris trout

Search the term “bottle+rape+scene+dennis+hopper” and you’ll likely be sent to this entire film, my ex-friend Steve Gyllenhaal’s second feature directorial effort (at 42, he’s 73 today) and Hopper’s purportedly favorite role. Bottle rape at 42:00. There’s a creepy, dreamy, nasty edge in almost all the sex scenes of Steve’s movies, something I think he picked up from David Lynch in imitation of the form—but not the substance—of Lynch’s genius sex-weirdness… Steve, you might remember, directed the 20th episode of the 2nd season of Twin Peaks. But no, nothing of Lynch’s great vision rubbed off on Stephen; ever a journeyman, he was more in the same bag with those mediocre, cold “auteurs” of his era John Carpenter and David Cronenberg.

If we were still talking I would probably bring it up, but as he seems lately to have gone completely off the rails with his bizarre blogging I figure it would be pretty pointless.

UPDATE 11/11/19—Looks like Steve’s getting me in hot water again. Check out these now-archived bizarre reactions to this posting in the Hollywood Babylon group on Facebook. These females and their insulting, sexist, racist remarks impressed me so much I used their names in my last porn novel.



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The Music of Humoresque (Jean Negulesco dir, Warner Bros 1946): Lalo, Waxman, Wagner etc; Plus My Continuing Lust for BBC Conductor John Wilson, Part 1

There is so much to love in this Joan Crawford flick I hardly know where to begin. Firstly, it is my second-favorite Crawford movie (the first being Rain obviously, as I was in the 1980 version). Secondly, Oscar Levant. Oscar Levant! Novelist Nora Johnson’s object of teenage lust!

Thirdly, the B&W gorgeousness of the movie itself.


The entire film HUMORESQUE (1940) is available to watch here


Fourthly, the music (see below)…

Screening Room, SF 1979Above: “City Montage” from Humoresque by Franz Waxman. John Musto, Russell Warner arrangers; Andrew Litton conducts the London Symphony Orchestra.

I’ll add links as I find them and like them:

  • Antonín Dvorák / Humoresque, op 101 no 7 in G-flat major
  • Howard Dietz+Arthur Schwartz / I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan
  • Richard Rodgers+Lorenz Hart / My Heart Stood Still
  • Cole Porter / You Do Something to Me
  • Cole Porter / What Is This Thing Called Love?
  • James F. Hanley / Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart
  • Al Dubin+Harry Warren / Don’t Say Good-Night
  • George+Ira Gershwin / Embraceable You
  • George Gershwin / Prelude II
  • George Gershwin / Prelude III
  • Frederic Chopin / Etude in G-flat major op 10 no 5
  • Frederic Chopin / Ballade No 4 in F minor op 52
  • Richard Wagner / Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
  • Georges Bizet, Franz Waxman arr / Carmen Fantasie
  • Edouard Lalo / Symphonie espagnole in D minor op 21
  • Felix Mendelssohn / Violin Concerto in E minor op 64
  • Franz von Suppé / Poet and Peasant Overture
  • Pablo de Sarasate / Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs) op 20
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto in D major op 35
  • Henryk Wieniawski / Violin Concerto No 2 in D minor op 22
  • César Franck / Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major
  • Edvard Grieg / Piano Concerto in A minor op 16
  • Sergei Prokofiev / Piano Concerto No 3 in C major op 26
  • Dmitri Shostakovich / Polka from the ballet The Golden Age op 22
  • Johannes Brahms / Waltz in A-flat major op 39 no 15
  • Johann Sebastian Bach / Sonata No 1 in G minor BWV 1001
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov / Flight of the Bumblebee

Read my short piece, with pictures, “Humoresque (MGM 1946) — The Witchery of Joan Crawford, the Saintliness of Barbara Stanwyck…and My Continuing Lust for BBC Conductor John Wilson, Part 2” here



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My First Music; Or, In Other Words, Pre-John Wilson from 1955 to 1972: 3 English Girls (Petula Clark, Lulu, Dusty Springfield) Plus 1 Aussie (Judith Durham)

I’ll add comments as they come to me.




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Richard Rodney Bennett’s Concerto for Stan Getz Played by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Conducted by Bonny John Wilson (Chandos, 2017)

A few insights on the orchestral pieces of the lively and prolific Richard Rodney Bennett (“A Collage Artist” will be the post’s title) to be finished as soon as I, one, do a little necessary sex writing, and, two, actually buy the complete Chandos 4-volume set of the work of John’s distinguished mentor, conducted by John. For now, here’s a recording from a BBC broadcast (yes, bonny John is conductor) that starts off with a few words from the composer himself:

John AlbumAbove my beloved John at 28 and his major musical influence, Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012) [download PDF of Feb 2020 issue of Gramophone with John’s interview here]: Concerto for Stan Getz (I know I knocked their album Orchestral Jazz and rightly so, but this is a swell picture)


By the way John, with your brimming schedule I can imagine you’re not much of a reader, but I’m sure like many you like having useful books at hand, so here are a couple in pdf:


NOTE: “[The English temperament] is disciplinable, and steadily obedient to certain limits, but retaining an inalienable part of freedom and self-dependence, [with a propensity for] spending its exertions within a bounded field, the field of plain sense, of practical utility.” ~ Matthew Arnold The Study of Celtic Literature (1867)



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John Wilson Conducts the Sinfonia of London at the Royal Albert Hall in a Concert of Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Others, 16 July 2022

From The Guardian, Fiona Maddocks: “The final work, Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations, was one of the best, most alert and detailed performances you could hope for. Wilson, whose gestures on the podium are so unassuming he appears to do nothing more than beat time, had scrutinised the score, and asked probing questions about every familiar phrase, making it fresh. The Sinfonia of London, mostly a recording ensemble, is made up of leading principals or chamber musicians who want to play for Wilson. You can hear their devotion.”

MY BELOVED CONDUCTOR SPEAKS!

[Proms Director] David Pickard and I had a conversation about Sinfonia Of London’s connection in the past to English music, principally John Barbirolli’s famous record of English music for strings and it is as we know Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 150th anniversary so I thought opening with the Tallis Fantasia would be (a) good thing. And built that around I guess the English romantics and a fairly recent work by a living composer, Huw Watkins, who is Welsh and one of my favorite composers and a piece which he actually happened to write for Adam Walker, who’s our principal flute. The rest of the program con-sists of things you might know and you might not know. Walton’s Partita, which is a tour de force but it’s rarely done, and I think that’s because it’s so impossibly difficult. … Very difficult! One of the first violins came up to me and he said, “This is absolutely bloody murder!” We really sweated over it, and I—I hope to pull it off.

John & SOLAbove: Partita for Orchestra by William Walton (1957) written originally for the Cleveland Orchestra.

Sat 16 July 2022 18:30
Royal Albert Hall
London, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Adam Walker (flute)

EXTRA! Available in PDF:


The entire audio of the BBC Proms 2 BRITISH CLASSICS can be downloaded here



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Hollywood Soundstage; or, John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London Play Orchestral Music from the Movies (Chandos, 2022)

Love this cover. Actually, it’s kind of sophisticated. Look! It has the magic words Hollywood and John Wilson and nothing more need be said. Now I know what to get for Christmas for my other old lady friends.

Hollywood SoundstageAbove: John conducts the Sinfonia of London in Frederick Loewe’s “Embassy Waltz” from My Fair Lady.

Actually, I think that’s Musical Director Johnny “Two-Harps” Green up there with the MGM Orchestra.


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“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by Cole Porter from Born to Dance (Roy Del Ruth director, MGM 1936), Just for My Bonny Conductor, John Wilson

Because sometimes you just want to see a beautiful sad-eyed woman singing this song to yet another doofus in white tie and tails.

Here’s an American musical film starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart, directed by Roy Del Ruth and released in 1936 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The score, a smutty parody of HMS Pinafore, was composed by Cole Porter.

The plot is sublimely ridiculous: While on leave, sailor Ted Barker (played by James Stewart) meets Nora Paige (Eleanor Powell) at the Lonely Hearts Club, which is owned by Jenny Saks (Una Merkel), the wife of fellow sailor “Gunny” Saks (Sid Silvers), oy. Ted instantly falls in love with Nora. Ted later meets Broadway star Lucy James (Virginia Bruce) aboard a submarine while she’s on a publicity tour. Her damn dog falls overboard, Ted rescues it, and Lucy falls in love with him. Though Ted has already scheduled a date with Nora, he is ordered by his captain, Dingby (Raymond Walburn), to meet Lucy in a nightclub. Nora, who lives with Jenny and her 4 year-old daughter, Sally (Juanita Quigley), aspires to become a Broadway dancer. However, her newfound career is in serious jeopardy when she inadvertently comes between Lucy and her producer McKay (Alan Dinehart). Nora distances herself from Ted after seeing pictures of him and Lucy in a newspaper the next morning. Lucy pressures McKay to stop the press campaign, threatening to leave the Broadway production if any more photos or articles about her and Ted are published. Nora becomes Lucy’s understudy and re-considers her attitude towards Ted. But she’s suddenly fired after McKay tells her to perform a dance that Lucy considers undanceable. Ted, of course, to the rescue. That’s our Jimmy.

Besides Eleanor Powell and James Stewart, the cast also featured Virginia Bruce (here singing the above song), Una Merkel, Sid Silvers, Frances Langford (as a brunette), Raymond Walburn, Alan Dinehart, Buddy-freakin-Ebsen, little Juanita Quigley, Barnett Walker, and Reginald-double-freakin-Gardiner as the policeman who conducts “Easy to Love”.

But sometimes, as I say, you just want to see a beautiful sad-eyed woman singing this song to yet another doofus in white tie and tails.


Read my short piece, with pictures, “A Melvyn Douglas Kind of Lover” about John’s full dress at Medium, here


The complete film BORN TO DANCE is available to watch here



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My Beloved Conductor John Wilson’s Concert Schedule 14 September 2022 Through 25 June 2023

After wading through the unsurprising reviews of John’s 16 July concert at the Royal Albert, thought I’d list his upcoming performances:

Above: I’m afraid nothing on this list arouses my delight except the Martin-Blane standard, “Love”, here suavely sung by the co-composer himself, Ralph Blane; kickass arrangement by Ralph Burns, who 6 years later orchestrated Richard Rodgers’s No Strings.


The dates link to the ticket sites. The other highlights link to available recordings.

Wed 14 September 2022 19:30
Göteborgs Konserthus
Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Elschenbroich (cello)

___

Thu 15 September 2022 19:00
Vara Konserthus
Vara, Sweden
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Elschenbroich (cello)

___

Wed 21 September 2022 14:00
BBC Philharmonic Studio
MediaCityUK, Salford
BBC Philharmonic
Timothy Rideout (viola)

___

Sat 08 October 2022 13:30
Duke’s Hall, RAM
London UK
Royal Academy of Music Orchestra

  • Lili Boulanger: D’un matin de printemps
  • Robert Schumann: Symphony No 3 in E flat, op 97, ‘Rhenish’

___

Thu 20 October 2022 19:30
Sheldonian Theatre Oxford
Oxford UK
Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra
Louis Schwizgebel (piano)

___

Sat 11 November 2022 19:30
Duke’s Hall, RAM
London UK
Royal Academy of Music Orchestra

___

Sat 26 November 2022 19:30
Symphony Hall Birmingham
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Martin James Bartlett (piano)

___

Mon 28 November 2022 19:30
St David’s Hall
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Martin James Bartlett (piano)

___

Thu 1 December 2022 19:45
The Anvil Theatre
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)

___

Fri 2 December 2022 19:30
Barbican
London, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Alice Coote (mezzo-soprano)

___

Sun 4 December 2022 19:30
Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Martin James Bartlett (piano)

___

Sat 31 December 2022 15:00
Berlin Tempodrom
Berlin, Germany
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

  • Program to be announced

___

Sat 31 December 2022 19:00
Berlin Tempodrom
Berlin, Germany
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

  • Program to be announced

___

Sun 1 January 2023 18:00
Berlin Tempodrom
Berlin, Germany
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

  • Program to be announced

___

Thu 5 January 2023 17:00
Stockholm Concert Hall
Stockholm, Sweden
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Kim Criswell (vocals)

___

Thu 9 March 2023 19:30
Caird Hall
Dundee, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Timothy Orpen (clarinet)

  • George Gershwin: Cuban Overture
  • Aaron Copland: Clarinet Concerto
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

___

Fri 10 March 2023 19:30
Usher Hall
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Timothy Orpen (clarinet)

  • George Gershwin: Cuban Overture
  • Aaron Copland: Clarinet Concerto
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

___ 

Thu 11 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor
  • Ottorino Respighi: The Pines of Rome

___

Thu 12 May 2023 11:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra

  • Ottorino Respighi: Roman Festivals
  • Ottorino Respighi: The Fountains of Rome
  • Ottorino Respighi: The Pines of Rome

___

Sat 13 May 2023 14:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor
  • Ottorino Respighi: Roman Festivals
  • Ottorino Respighi: Fountains of Rome
  • Ottorino Respighi: Pines of Rome

___

Wed 17 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

  • Gordon Hamilton: “A Great Big Blue Thing” (NEW commission)
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No 1 in F-sharp minor
  • Erich Korngold: Symphony in F-sharp major

___

Thu 18 May 2023 13:30
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

  • Gordon Hamilton: “A Great Big Blue Thing” (NEW commission)
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No 1 in F-sharp minor
  • Erich Korngold: Symphony in F-sharp major

___

Fri 19 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

  • Gordon Hamilton: “A Great Big Blue Thing” (NEW commission)
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No 1 in F-sharp minor
  • Erich Korngold: Symphony in F-sharp major

___

Sat 20 May 2023 20:00
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW, Australia
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Hough (piano)

  • Gordon Hamilton: “A Great Big Blue Thing” (NEW commission)
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No 1 in F-sharp minor
  • Erich Korngold: Symphony in F-sharp major

___

Wed 7 June 2023 19:00
Queen Elizabeth Hall
London, United Kingdom
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

___

Wed 8 June 2023 19:00
Queen Elizabeth Hall
London, United Kingdom
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

___

Sat 24 June 2023 20:15
The Concertgebouw
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Howard McGill (saxophone)

___

Sun 25 June 2023 14:15
The Concertgebouw
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Howard McGill (saxophone)



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Cantara Christopher in Sadie (Bob Chinn director, Mitam Productions, 1980) as Indexed in the Database of the British Film Institute; and “Pictures of Lily” by Pete Townshend

This isn’t the picture of me at the BFI Database. It was sent to me by “John Fairfax”, who saw my posting on Twitter about my last feature film and my irritated comment about how I thought the British Film Institute had mixed me up with another (probably Asian) actress. And the dear chap actually went through the grueling task (in the name of research, of course) to find proof positive that the girl in the sarong in the other screenshot is not me, mostly because of the arms, hair, and height. And he sent it to me! So here I am in Sadie, a softcore version of Maugham’s story “Rain”, entertaining two men on the island, presumably Borneo. The bloke in the cap is my husband Doc, the only one on the island allowed to touch my goodies.

Sadie, 1981Above: The Who and Pete Townshend’s love song to sex workers everywhere, “Pictures of Lily”.

This was not only my last feature, but the last film of any length (including loops, shorts etc) I did during my screen days in San Francisco, before I got pregnant and eloped with the father of my child to New York’s East Village.

For years I’ve talked about my porn career like it was a lark—a daredevil stunt I pulled and lived to tell the tale. I certainly was never more physically beautiful than when I was in my early 20s, and really, I’ve got to tell you, it is a kick in the first flowering of old age to know that somewhere, somehow, even now yet still, someone is probably doing the stroke dance with one of your pictures. Because as long as a buck can be made from it, porn will never disappear.

Now here comes the freakin’ British Film Institute to spoil my fun. Now I have to consider myself a lousy but legitimate actress rather than a pretty good porn one? Do you Brits have to put a damper on everything?



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John Wilson Becomes Honorary President of the Black Dyke Band 25 May, 2022; Plus Fanfares (Chandos, 2018) an Album by Onyx Brass; and Peter Graham’s Metropolis, 1927

From 4barsrest.com, an online publication that serves brass instrumentalists: The critically acclaimed big band and orchestral conductor (that’s my lad!) has accepted the role of Honorary President of the Yorkshire band Black Dyke. Chairman of the Board of Black Dyke Band Trustees, Trevor Caffull stated, “We are delighted that John Wilson has agreed to be our Honorary President and very excited with some of the initial thoughts shared regarding potential collaborations. In his early life, John was steeped in brass band culture. He has clearly lost none of his enthusiasm for the genre and we are very optimistic that this will evolve into a mutually rewarding association.”

John Wilson, BlackdykeAbove John shaking hands with Prof Nicholas Childs, Music Director: Metropolis 1927, the Black Dyke Brass Band performing this extravagantly yummy piece, inspired by Fritz Lang’s film, composed by Lanarkshire-born Peter Graham. Sidebar: NOTES for Fanfares (Chandos, 2018) can be found here. 

About Fanfares: I fell in love with John the spring of 2018. The summer of 2018 was The Bernstein Summer. The summer my beloved John tried to oedipally murder Leonard Bernstein before an arena of cheering thousands at the Royal Albert; the summer I finally heard on YT his Proms Oklahoma! from 2017 with Mister Grumble and having to end up apologizing to my Oklahoman husband the rest of the year; but more importantly, this was the summer I decided to try to make as comprehensive a chronology as I could of John’s musical paths, as evidenced by the dates of live performances whether videoed or not, radio broadcasts, album recordings and so forth. In this way I hoped to be able to follow him on those various paths, perhaps to be rewarded, even if only for a moment, with hearing music as he hears it, or perceiving if only for a moment what he feels when he conducts. So when I bought Fanfares, it was not a completely whimsical purchase. When I read later on that, a few months after he recorded with Onyx at St Jude’s, John went on to tame the raucous festival orchestra of Circus Roncalli at their New Year’s show in Berlin, I knew I was on the right track.

So this is what I garner from John’s travels in brass. His Newcastle-Gateshead working-class background stands him in good stead in this field; as it’s in the north of England, among the factory and mine workers who were also dedicated amateur instrumentalists, that the uniquely British form of brass ensemble was not simply allowed to grow and thrive, but achieve such a high excellence of sound and musicality that concert composers were, and continue to be, attracted to write works for it, for example this ravishing masterwork by Scottish-born composer Peter Graham for the 165-year-old, 28-piece Black Dyke Band of Yorkshire.*

It was in and around groups like these, as a percussionist, as well as in amateur musical pit orchestras, as a conductor, where my beloved John Wilson as a teenager got his start, and where he first developed his “ear”.

Which brings us back to Fanfares played by the London-based Onyx Brass, or to be more accurate, the Onyx Brass 5 plus 6 friends. In this trailer @00:24, John gleefully declares his pleasure at hearing such a rich clear loud sound (“shatteringly loud” he laughs, “a thrilling sound”) from such a relatively small chamber group. A little brass does go a long way.

The album is a tribute to the impressive range of John’s genuine knowledge of the repertoire. The selections are grouped under each of the 15 featured composers, themselves grouped very loosely by era.  If one listens seriously and openly to the entire record—there are 58 cuts—even an absolute neophyte to the field of British brass might be able to discern qualities in the music itself that distinguish traditional British music in general: for instance those certain intervals I talked about in “The Pure Joy of St Trinian’s and The Inn of the Sixth Happiness by Malcolm Arnold” that suggest stability, cohesiveness, and “rightness”. This is the music of pageantry.

John begins the collection with famed Master of the Queen’s Music, Arthur Bliss, near the top, and the Onyx Brass does his “God Save the Queen” with the reverence and swelling pride it deserves. Tuneful Arnold, who played first trumpet in the BBCSO, is well-represented here, as are Albert Ketelbey, Arnold Bax, Frederic Curzon, Eric Coates, etc etc. But the real gems come from Imogen Holst (Gustav’s daughter, 1907-1984) with her “Leiston” Suite (1967); Elisabeth Lutyens with her typically odd but compelling Fanfare for a Festival (1975); Michael Tippett with the “Wolf Trap” Fanfare (1980); and also Joseph Horovitz, my beloved John’s composition teacher at the Royal College of Music, with his “Graduation” Fanfare No 2”, which debuted in 2013 at the graduation ceremony of the Royal College.

Each of these later pieces may stretch the definition of what a fanfare actually is, but all of them contribute a superior musicality to the brass repertoire. John’s championing of these works—particularly Holst’s suite, which deserves to be included in general concert programs—shows me not only where his heart is, but also his head. And John Wilson’s head is something that’s been on my mind for the last four years.

*A brief look at the score excerpt of Graham’s “Metropolis 1927” will give you an idea of how large and fully-complemented a British brass band can be.


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John Wilson Conducts the BBCCO in Edward German’s “The Tempter” (Chandos, 1997)

20 November, 1999. On this day 20 years ago, at 6AM, my bonny John Wilson made his first appearance on BBC radio when the morning show played his 1997 recording for Chandos of “The Tempter”, a theatrical music piece by the nearly forgotten, once popular, Welsh-English composer Sir Edward German (1862 – 1936), whose reputation John in his career has done a lot to restore. No, really. I’m into theatrical music so I should have known about this chap years ago, not just about Arthur Sullivan. So thank you, John, for Edward German. (I think you do a nifty Nell Gwyn Overture too.)

John was 25 when he conducted this, and even then showed his flair with bright theatrical pieces.

John in Library.jpg


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My Beloved John Wilson’s Concert Schedule 6 March Through 16 July 2022, Plus an Update on That E-album About an English Conductor

To those of you patiently awaiting the release of my text+audiolinks album JOHN WILSON AN ENGLISH CONDUCTOR: I’m taking the time to refine my observations about John’s artistic path. Anyone who knows me from A POET FROM HOLLYWOOD: LOVE, INSANITY, STEPHEN GYLLENHAAL, AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS knows this is my real bag.

Ah, there’s the man whose every gesture makes my heart beat faster.

Meanwhile, here’s his concert schedule—including his appearance with the Royal College—for the next few months (with links to music):

John’s schedule for 5 November 2021 to 18 February 2022 can be found on my posting here.

Sun 6 March 2022 20:00
Berliner Philharmonie
Berlin, Germany
DSO Berlin

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Thu 17 March 2022 19:30
Royal College of Music
London, UK
Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra

(Note: John ill, replaced by Martin Andre)

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Fri 8 April 2022 19:00
Sheffield City Hall
Sheffield, United Kingdom
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Louis Lortie (piano)

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Sat 9 April 2022 19:30
The Bridgewater Hall
Manchester, United Kingdom
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

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Thu 21 April 2022
The Bridgewater Hall
Manchester, United Kingdom
Halle Orchestra

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Fri 20 May 2022 19:30
Usher Hall
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Louis Schwizgebel (piano)

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Fri 21 May 2022 19:30
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Louis Schwizgebel (piano)

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Sat 16 July 2022 18:30
Royal Albert Hall
London, United Kingdom
Sinfonia of London
Adam Walker (flute)



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John Wilson Conducts the Sinfonia of London + Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra in Richard Strauss’s “Metamorphosen” and Gives Me a Perfect Screenshot, 23 October 2020

I don’t know what I did to please the gods but on this 2020 October morning, somehow, I took a perfect screenshot of John conducting, while watching the (UK time) 7:30pm performance of the Royal Academy of Music (Finzi, Strauss). “Metamorphosen” is from his new album on Chandos.

Screening Room, SF 1979Above my beloved John, who I’m pleased to have captured as crisply and revealingly as Robert Elswit with his pic of Jake and Stephen Gyllenhaal (Steve’s gift to me): Himself conducting the Sinfonia of London in Strauss’s “Metamorphosen” (Chandos, 2022).

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