Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Beethoven treats

Many years ago I was inspecting a disused industrial building in the company of an elderly, very distinguished and somewhat deaf architect; let's call him Sir John. As we emerged from a watchman's door we walked bang slam into the middle of a video shoot; lights, dollies, screens, booms and with yellow taxicabs and red fire hydrants to 'dress' the set as a New York street. They'd just set up the shot with the star, a slight red-headed young woman in hot pants, just five metres away from the door from which we'd so suddenly emerged. She stared at us. Sir John peered back at her, nonplussed. "Who's that?" he boomed, in the way of the deaf. "Ginger Spice" I answered, more loudly than I liked. "Who?" he boomed and I replied, by this time almost cringing in embarrassment "She's a pop singer. Popular ballads and the like. Modern" and every soul on set must have heard; you could have heard a pin drop. "Oh." he said. The disappointment and dismissal in that one word carried for miles. "If it had been Alfred Brendel I might have been interested" and he turned around and re-entered the small door without a backwards glance.

Just a reminder that thank God we've still got VHF radio at least this year and Radio 3 broadcasting Beethoven's symphonies in sequence; I'll make a point of 3, 5 and 6 but 9 is over-exposed and the intermediates lack Wump; I'll plug the gaps with a Beethoven Piano Concerto or two in my own Web 2.0 version of the Proms. Including, perhaps more than once, the Adagio from No 5, to which I can never help singing sotto-voce  'There's a place for us; A time and place for us ..' and this is where I also remember dear old Sir John; he wouldn't have had a clue about West Side Story, either, bless him.

12 comments:

cascadian said...

Chicago -pre Oprah and Obama, not a bad place really, run by villains but at least the law ruled, now run by socialists and lawless.

Now sadly in precipitous socialist decline, I see even Oprah is bailing selling an apartment at less than 50% she paid.

Hope and change, hope and small change (pennys on the dollar)

Nice piano, not usually a big fan as most pianists wish to display their virtuosity by playing a million note/minute, the slow measured playing is very enjoyable.

outsider said...

Interesting Beethoven choice. As an adolescent, I preferred the seventh. As an adult, my favourite is the fourth. What does this difference mean? Could there be a new Beethoven psychology or character test to revolutionise recruitment slection? Or have I just got bad taste?

Manganese said...

Beethoven's third - the Eroica - is the most inventive and powerful in my opinion. There's a very illuminating dissection of it by the American conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas. Definitely worth watching if you have a moment - http://www.pbs.org/keepingscore/beethoven-eroica.html

anon 2 said...

Thanks for this Raedwald, I also enjoyed the piano - though the tone may be a just little hard. I also liked that the music didn't seem to be digitised beyond recognition, as so often happens nowadays.

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Delightful anecdote, btw. I love the detail that about the great man's "Oh." The disappointment and dismissal in that one word carried for miles. However, you say that the female was just five metres away from the door from which we'd so suddenly emerged. She stared at us. My problem is that I'll never be able to understand how far that is :)

Nick Drew said...

7th for me, on a summer's evening, just the job

G. Tingey said...

Oh, but you can't say any of this!

Raedwald, you have now known to bhave blown your cover and ba an undercover commonist mole, because it's well-known that the BBC are a marxist front. And they must be smashed, and their works destroyed, so that we can get the truth from Faux news and the Murdoch corporations founts of all true knowledege!

Wildgoose said...

I had the pleasure of hearing Brendel play at the Birmingham Symphony Hall a few years back. The best concert I have ever attended, I was buzzing for days afterwards.

Demetrius said...

We have had the luck to be at a few of his concerts down the decades. A wonderful performer.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Beethoven 7 lacks wump?

Sir, I beg to differ.

Ian Hills said...

As you seem to have gone culturally up-market, here's a joke. What do you call five dogs without any bollocks?

The Spice Girls.

Anonymous said...

Sublime - loved it. Thank you

themanwithmanychins said...

I have a fine collection of Beethoven on vinyl - sounds absolutely superb :-)