Bradley Creswick, Leader of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Discusses Vaughan Williams’s “The Lark Ascending”

This is the group my beloved John Wilson wished 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. It’s pleasing to think that bonny John had a childhood filled with such musical memories—makes me recall my girlhood days hanging around Northrop Auditorium and the Minneapolis Symphony, now the Minnesota Orchestra. (Will tell all about my Vietnam War-era music school/protest days sometime.)

Royal Northern Sinfonia Leader Bradley CreswickBradley 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.

The vid above doesn’t have the entire Vaughan Williams, so here’s my Tyneside lad conducting this exquisite piece:

The Lark Ascending”
Made in Britain, album
Ralph Vaughan Williams, composer
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
John Wilson, conductor
Avie Records, 2011

Free pdf of my book JOHN WILSON: AN ENGLISH CONDUCTOR here.

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Andre Rieu and The Johann Strauss Orchestra Come Home to Maastricht, 2018

This is the video 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.

Love in Maastricht André Rieu 2018.jpgAbove the Maastricht audience: An audio recording of the entire Rieu & JSO 2018 concert. Don’t you wish you could be there with a glass of beer in your hand?

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 entire Andre Rieu & The Johann Strauss Orchestra’s 2018 concert Love in Maastricht is available here.


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
  • 53:45 : 10. “Clog Dance” / Traditional
  • 56:21 : 11. “Trompeten Echo” / Slavko & Vilko Avsenik
  • 57:41 : 12. “Anton aus Tirol” / Vili Petrič
  • 1:00:33 : 13. “You Raise Me Up” / Josh Groban
  • 1:08:05 : 14. “Lara’s Theme” / Maurice Jarre
  • 1:12:27 : 15. “Meadowlands” (Poliushko Polie) / Lev Knipper, Viktor Gusev 
  • 1:16:24 : 16. “Kalinka” / Ivan Larionov
  • 1:20:12 : 17. “Caro Nome” / Giuseppe Verdi
  • 1:29:05 : 18. “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” (An der schönen, blauen Donau) / Johann Strauss Jr
  • 1:36:21 : 19. “Amigos Para Siempre” / Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • 1:41:44 : 20. “Radetzky March” / Johann Strauss Jr
  • 1:44:26 : 21. Strauss & Co. (medley) / Strauss Jr, Franz Lehar, etc
  • 1:47:54 : 22. “Libiamo” / Giuseppe Verdi
  • 1:52:28 : 23. “Zorba’s Dance” (Sirtaki) / 
  • 1:56:04 : 24. “Macarena” / Los del Río
  • 2:00:18 : 25. “La Bamba” / Ritchie Havens
  • 2:02:32 : 26. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” / Peretti-Creatore-Weiss (from “Plaisir d’amour” by Martini)
  • 2:05:39 : 27. “Het Wilhelmus” anthem of Maastricht / —
  • 2:07:40 : 28. “Maastricht, City Of Jolly Singers” / Armand Preud’homme 
  • 2:10:28 : 29. “Adieu, Little Captain Of My Heart” (Adieu, Mein Kleine Gardeoffizier) / Robert Stoltz, Ralph Benatzky)
  • 2:14:11 : 30. “Marina” / Rocco Granata

Free pdf of my memoir re the Gyllenhaals A POET FROM HOLLYWOOD here.
Free epub of my 2014 Hollywood-based comedy mystery COLD OPEN here.
Free pdf of my book JOHN WILSON: AN ENGLISH CONDUCTOR here.

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