This is the group my beloved John Wilsonwished a happy birthday to, and it’s a truly worthwhile one: The Royal Northern Sinfonia has an outstanding record in community outreach in the northeast of England. Plus they play from an exquisitely good repertoire. It’s pleasing to think of my John with musical memories like these. I hope he gets as much pleasure from them as I do remembering the Minnesota Orchestra when I was a teenager in Minneapolis during the Vietnam War era.
Bradley Creswick at the upstairs hall at The Sage, the Royal Northern Sinfonia’s permanent home in Gateshead, on the south side of the river from Newcastle. That’s the Tyne and the Tyne Bridge out the window.
Royal Northern Sinfonia is a British chamber orchestra, founded in Newcastle upon Tyne and currently based in Gateshead. For the first 46 years of its history, the orchestra gave the bulk of its concerts at the Newcastle City Hall. Since 2004, the orchestra has been resident at The Sage, Gateshead. In June 2013 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the title “Royal” on the orchestra, formally naming it the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
This is the video on YT I’ve been waiting for, for two years: the complete annual summer concert of the greatest festival orchestra in the world, The Johann Strauss Orchestra, led by Andre Rieu, in the town square Vrijthof in their home town of Maastricht, The Netherlands, 7 July 2018.
From their rousing entrance to the tune of “76 Trombones” by Meredith Willson (that’s two l’s, thank you) to their invariable sign-off pieces: the Maastricht city anthem; Strauss Sr’s “Radetsky March”; “An der schönen blauen Donau” (of course); Shostakovich’s Jazz Waltz No 2; “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (from “Plaisir d’amour” by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini, 1784); Austrian composer Robert Stoltz’s “Adieu, mein kleiner gardeoffizier”; and the Rocco Granata standard “Marina” (which we used to hear every year at the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy, NYC), there’s two hours here of sheer delight, drinking and dancing. It’s always a special afternoon when I get to play the entire Maastricht concerts for me and Mister Grumble, I open a bottle and dance around the room and he just grins intermittently and drinks. Just like in our old commune back in San Francisco in the 70s.
The program (with comments, if any, as they come to me):
0:02 : 01. “76 Trombones” / Meredith Willson
5:38 : 02. “Old Comrades” (Alte Kameraden) / Carl Teike
10:25 : 03. “Granada” / Ernesto Lecuona
15:47 : 04. “Tiritomba” / Guglielmo Cottrau
20:20 : 05. “Nessun Dorma” / Giacomo Puccini
27:07 : 06. “Snow Waltz” (Schneewalzer) / Thomas Koschat
34:39 : 07. “Pie Jesu” / Andrew Lloyd Webber
41:18 : 08. “Olé Guapa” / A Malando
47:40 : 09. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” / Rodgers & Hammerstein