Sunday afternoon found me in the local theatre again - I’m offered discounts now, as a loyal supporter - this time to hear the City of London Sinfonia introduced by Brian Blessed and Presenter/Composer James Redwood. Conducted by Stuart Stratford, they formed an engaging threesome. I might want to re-phrase. They and the orchestra sparked off each other and the audience for a hugely enjoyable hour.
It’s the first time I’ve attended a live concert like this - watching the YMOTY and The Proms in the Park doesn’t do the scale of an orchestra justice; you really do have to be there. Sumptuous was the word that came to mind. Rich and deep - it washed over you and saturated every pore, seeping into your soul. I think I’m hooked on classics (just a little nod back to the eighties again there, for all you oldies!). There’s a fine line I think, between classical and jazz - watching YMOTY last year showed me that.
Brian narrated the whys and hows of each group in the orchestra - strings, wind, brass and percussion with all of them playing their own variation of Benjamin Britten’s The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra followed by Three Places In New England (2nd Movement - Putnam’s Camp) and Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copeland (wasn’t he in The Police?) In between, we were invited to join in From Darkest Night, James’ own composition and yippee, we were in Brian’s team! Oh, come on - who’s going to be loudest? So there I am, tone deaf, singing along, backed by a full orchestra - how many of you can say that, eh? Just pity the people sat next to me, because James insisted that it didn’t matter how or what we sang just as long as we were loud: Blame him.
Brian very kindly signed a few autographs outside afterwards - just for one man! Myself and another mum shared knowing smiles and raised eyebrows behind our sunglasses - we must have been waiting ten minutes for this bloke, who kept retrieving more paper from somewhere for Brian to sign! And then, just as he finished, some other bloke tried to push in! Now you know what happens when people try to push in on me! I think I was a bit deaf at that point and my laughing “Bloody cheek!” exclamation, mouthed to Brian’s driver, may have been louder than I thought. He backed off anyway - the pushing in man, not Brian's driver.