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Weedon Weekly: 1st November 2017

Box of tissues

STAND-IN ROOM ONLY!
I'm currently wrapped up on the sofa, nursing my first cold of the winter. My head is stuffed, but not with ideas for this blog, even though I have received several interesting emails which I shall use soon.
Fortunately, I have no work lined up which requires a stand-in. But for your amusement, here are 3 lovely stand-in stories. I hope you enjoy them, and I'll be be back soon 'in better voice'.

The singing cloakroom girl.

The missing Aida

The sudden Prom soloist

 

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Weedon Weekly: 19th October 2017

Music box ballerina

Marble-ous, a touch of glass!

Thank you to all of you who are sending me your reactions to my last blog, concerning your top 10 pieces. I'm collecting the information and will pop it up here soon. 

Meanwhile, I'm grateful to Shirley for pointing me towards this amazing music machine which plays by marbles! Also to Tony who rather enjoyed these two contrasting versions (one a solo, the other a duet) of The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikowsky.

I love automated music. If you can recommend any museums that feature player pianos, music boxes, street organs and the like, I'd love to list them on the blog - and, indeed, visit them myself!

 

 

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Weedon Weekly: 9th October 2017

Dream image

CHOOSE YOUR FANTASY PROGRAMME
I recently swapped emails with regular Weedon Weekly reader Terry. He feels that a lot of performers would do well to reflect on the music they are playing. As Terry says, when one looks round a concert hall these days, most of us in the audience are sporting more than the odd grey hair. But Terry believes a lot of performers (organists in particular) believe their listeners were teenagers during the 1930s and 40s, if their programmes are anything to go by. I certainly hear many renditions of Glenn Miller and a fair smattering of wartime songs. 
Terry set the members of his local organ society audience the challenge of putting together their 'dream' concert programmes. Once they were handed in, he analysed the answers. It turned out that the majority of their favourites dated from the 1960s and 70s, with a few from the 1950s. Certainly Glenn Miller and wartime songs barely featured at all - it was much more Beatles and rock 'n roll!
So I'd like to take a leaf out of Terry's book and ask you to email me your 10 or so favourite songs or pieces. if you feel it wouldn't be an intrusion, you can also indicate which decade spanned your teens and 20s as well - I promise I won't publish your personal details! I would be particularly interested in any very modern favourites you have. There must still be the odd 'good tune' being composed?
To set the ball rolling, my dream programme would feature some Stylistics, Tavares, Barry White, Bee Gees, Carpenters, Streisand and a few meaty classical numbers by Rachmaninov, Sibelius and Tchaikowsky. Now over to you...

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Weedon Weekly: 21st September 2017

Bargemusic

STORMY WEATHER
I've selected the title of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's atmospheric song for this week's ponderings. We've certainly witnessed extraordinary events in recent times, be they storms or earth movements. Whilst Googling the effects of weather on concerts, I came upon mention of Bargemusic. The short headline reported that the American venue, Bargemusic, thought to be the place most at risk from storms and hurricanes, turned out to be the one that emerged unscathed. It floated serenely on the rising waters which, at halls nearby, drowned various priceless concert grand pianos and a mighty pipe organ.   I just had to know more!
Bargemusic is just that - an old steel barge built 118 years ago to transport sacks of coffee for the Erie Lackawanna railroad. When it's useful life was over in 1976, rather than becoming a rusting green hulk it was transformed into a sparkling white chamber concert hall by retiring violinist, Olga Bloom.  Now it hosts over 200 concerts a year, many of them with free entry for local families. What a beautiful idea! 
I'd love to hear from you about lovely venues you have encountered. They don't have to be weird or wonderful, just so pleasant that they give the music a 'lift'.

 

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