Showing posts with label April Fool's Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label April Fool's Day. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Wagner's Ring-Cyber?


Morning all! won't have escaped your notice that many musical organisations have been using the wonders of modern technology to arrange playing together at a socially-distanced distance, from many and disparate locations. But wait for it: is this the biggest one yet? How could it not be? It is...

Loge, from Arthur Rackham's Ring cycle illustrations
- a prequel of Jurowski's conducting?

The Ring cycle. Or in this case, the Ring-Cyber.

Putting on Wagner's Ring is no task for the faint-hearted. It requires years of planning, months of practice and weeks of rehearsal. And then, of course, days of playing and listening. So, really, you can't take risks with it, even at the best of times. The complete work has been in the 2020-21 diary of my orchestra-in-law, the LPO, for years: in some ways Vladimir Jurowski's farewell as he enters his last year as principal conductor before heading for the Bavarian State Opera, where he becomes music director later next year. Yet who knows when we will be able to return to life as "normal" used to be - with live concerts and operas to attend? Nothing is guaranteed.

And so they have devised the contingency plan to end all contingency plans.

The players will play from their homes, the singers will cyber-beam themselves in from all over the world, the anvils will have to be improvised from whatever metallic surfaces the percussionists have to hand, and the semi-staging will be in our imaginations only; but Vladimir, aided and abetted by the doughty leader Pieter Schoemann, will cue everyone in to perfection, having also conducted the rehearsals in similar remote mode. If he can't pull this off, nobody can. They know the first three backwards already; now it's only the small matter of nailing Götterdämmerung...

So, prepare to book your places at the computer and don't forget to tune in to this Ring-Cyber once-in-a-lifetime experience!

(PS: mezzo Jamie Barton, bass-baritone Ryan McKinny and pianist Katherine Kelly are already getting in shape: try this!

Monday, April 01, 2019

SHOCK MAESTRO MOVE: Rattle throws his hat into prospective PM ring

"I told you no good would come of Brexit!"
(Photo courtesy of the LSO)

In a move that will shock the orchestral profession worldwide, Sir Simon Rattle is rumoured to be on the point of announcing his intention to throw his hat into the political ring, instead of the Wagnerian one.

While the UK government is in meltdown over Brexit, sources close to the maestro say that he hopes to be a candidate for Prime Minister, standing at the next (no doubt imminent) election with a national unity manifesto.

"Music is a force for unity and cohesion," said one source, who preferred to remain anonymous. "Sir Simon has a uniquely charismatic, positive personality and the power to transcend the venomous divisions currently besetting both government and opposition in the House of Commons. We are not the only ones who think he's just the person to bring the country together again."

Another source remarked, more sourly: "If he can get an orchestra with its inevitable factionalism and cliques to pull together, he can do anything. British politics ought to be a doddle by comparison."

First, though, he must stand for election as a local MP. He is said to be eyeing the Richmond Park constituency, where the incumbent MP Zac Goldsmith was elected with a slender majority of just 45 votes and was noticed advocating a no-deal Brexit in last week's indicative votes, despite a 71% majority for Remain in his area. With many music-lovers resident in this part of south-west London, Sir Simon should gain an excellent level of support.

Music and politics have a long, distinguished history of mixing and matching. The legendary pianist Ignacy Paderewski became president of his native Poland. Conductor Kurt Masur, while Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, was a leading light in the collapse of the DDR, often mentioned as the figurehead who helped to keep the demonstrations non-violent. Further back, King Henry VIII is usually credited as the composer of 'Greensleeves'. In world music, Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour ran for his country's presidency in 2012 and Gilberto Gil was Brazilian Minister of Culture for five years (2003-08).

Rattle intends to maintain his concert schedule as planned, at least for the moment. "Who better than a musician," our source commented, "to step forward and save Britain in her hour of need?" She added as an aside: "He certainly can't make things any worse."