From my friend who got lost and never arrived:
Saturday, I couldn't find the church. Nobody could help. I got off (the bus) after Ealing Common and looked every where. I was absolutly furious. I did not have my mobile with me because it was broken. I asked everywhere: newsagents, passerby, etc...So what I did, I came back walking to Ealing Broadway, passed the cinema, so I decided to see a movie. I saw the new Harry Potter. Very boring dispite all the fuss. I prefer the first one. Anyway, I calmed down. Conclusion of the story: never go to a new concert without having a leaflet or a clear address written down. Probably I missed a very nice evening. You will tell me about it.
West London Sinfonia
I cycled in the pouring rain to St Martin's Church near Ealing Common in London. The church, like most churches in England, is huge, amidst a quiet residential area. Several people were meeting me there, and I didn't want to be late. Early by 30 minutes I arrived, soaking wet.
I arrived with the orchestral players, who were dressed in their best black and white.
Most concerts begin with an overture or a short piece, to allow latecomers to come in before the "real concert" begins. The overture Le Corsaire (The Pirate) by Hector Berlioz (1803 - 1869) opens the sea theme of this concert.
The attraction of this concert is undoubtedly Debussy's La Mer. This not a piece of distinct melodies, but one of impressions. When I closed my eyes, I could hear the sea. Having grown up by the sea, I knew how moody and unpredictable it can be. There's a certain freedom about the piece, just like the sea which knows no bounds.
During the interval, I spoke to my three guests. What did they think so far? It's such a treat to come to an orchestral concert in such a homey setting. The orchestra was huge, and for that reason, all the more extraordinary that we were here to witness the making of great music.
After the interval, the conductor, a charismatic fellow Philip Hesketh, told us the story of his Swedish discovery. Alfven is a Swedish composer whose music was a breath of fresh air. He saw the skerries as a metaphor for the passions and dramas of human love. I enjoyed this piece the most, for it was a new discovery and a pleasant one too.
The final piece was the Pineapple Poll Suite in eight movements, very much the prelude to the winter holiday season. I felt like clapping and stomping my feet.
More about West London Sinfonia, visit their web site.
30 November 2002 Saturday
St Martin's Church, Hale Gardens, London W3
Berlioz, Overture Le Corsair
Debussy, La Mer
Alfven, Legend of the Skerries
Sullivan, Pineapple Poll Suite
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