John Wilson, Conductor Wishes the Royal Northern Sinfonia a Happy 60th Birthday, 3 December 2018

John Wilson and Royal Northern Sinfonia

Oh John honey. You’re a sweetheart to do this.

John conducted Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Symphony no. 5 in D major with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at The Sage in his home town of Gateshead 1 March 2019.

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Serenade for Strings by Lennox Berkeley (1938-39), Performed by the LSO and Conducted by the Composer

The sunniest piece in the programs of my bonny John Wilson’s upcoming concerts is this one, Serenade for Strings op.12, which he’s conducting with the Royal Northern Sinfonia in a program entitled Great Britons, again at The Sage in Gateshead, his home town, 1 March 2019.

The composer who wrote this piece has obviously been in love. It’s in the music.

Lennox Berkeley Love.jpg

In fact, while sojourning in Europe Berkeley studied under Maurice Ravel and did fall in love with Benjamin Britten which…actually…might make a good Saturday Drama for BBC Radio 4…

So, My Beloved John Wilson, When Are You Going to Conduct Vaughan Williams’s 6th?

I see your master plan, pet. You did Symphonies 1 and 2 last year; this year you’re doing 3, 4, and 5 (but not in that order). And considering the rest of the year you’re going to be busying yourself with Massenet, then the Proms (if not there’ll be a riot on your hands), then I suppose you’ll go on tour with The JWO for the holiday season. So…I’m figuring sometime early next year for no. 6, right? If not early next year, sometime next year…?

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 6 in E Minor
Sir Roger Norrington, Conductor
San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (1997)

Roger NorringtonNorrington is the conductor who believes in using NO vibrato. “Wobble” he calls it.

And what about 7, 8 and 9? Are we going to hear them next year, or the year after? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s Vaughan Williams’s Symphony no. 6 I’m really after. What a truly nutzoid piece. A genuine WTF. Even without comparing it to Symphonies 1 through 5, it’s still a nutzoid piece. It’s intriguing enough for me to want to listen to it again and possibly again. (And of course I am eager to hear you, flame of my heart. What a wondrous thing you’ll make of it…)

The Symphony Orchestra and United Choirs of the Gimnazija Kranj, Conducted by Nejc Bečan, Play Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe Suite no. 2 at Gallus Hall, Ljubljana, 19 December 2017

Ravel Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2.jpeg

Not to be put down as a “youth orchestra”, this is an orchestra, one of the best I’ve ever heard, and their Daphnis et Chloe is ravishing.

Ravel began work on this score for ballet in 1909 after a commission from Sergei Diaghilev. It was premiered at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris by his Ballets Russes on 8 June 1912. The music, some of the composer’s most passionate, is widely regarded as some of Ravel’s best, with extraordinarily lush harmonies typical of the impressionist movement in music. Even during the composer’s lifetime, contemporary commentators described this ballet as his masterpiece for orchestra.