For this instalment of Flashback, we’re heading back to our first ever BBC Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 1 August 1973, when CLS was still known as the Richard Hickox Orchestra. The Orchestra performed Handel’s Messiah with the Richard Hickox Singers (also founded in 1971) alongside a host of incredibly talented soloists, many of whom were budding young stars and have since gone on to great things!
Back then we were joined by Stephen Cleobury on the organ, now better known for being Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral and Director of Music of the world-renowned Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Alastair Ross who is still a member of CLS, performed as a soloist on the harpsichord too.
Our vocal soloists on the night included the late Philip Langridge, a tenor who became famous for performing the works of Benjamin Britten and was regarded as the true successor of Peter Pears, baritone Raimund Herincx who has since appeared with the Welsh National Opera and at the Royal Opera House, and James Bowman who has become arguably the most acclaimed countertenor of his generation.
This year we’re returning to the Proms on Sunday 21 August to perform a new work by Colin Matthews, No Man’s Land, which was commissioned by the late Richard Hickox, alongside Britten’s Variations on a theme of Bridge, and Mozart’s Requiem, recently voted the Nation’s Favourite Mozart piece by BBC Radio 3 listeners.
For a flavour of our upcoming Prom, listen to our Spotify playlist.
Sunday 21 August
Royal Albert Hall
Tickets: £7.50 – £36
On 21 July we’re celebrating the life and work of the late Geoffrey Burgon with performances of a selection of his film and television music, as well as two of his concertos. Burgon is famous for the accessibility of his music, rebelling against avant-garde orthodoxies which controlled commissions and performance at the beginning of his career. He produced over 200 compositions during his lifetime, and is considered as one of the gems of English contemporary music.
Born in 1941 Burgon went to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama originally to train as a jazz trumpeter. However, composition took over as his major interest and he found success writing ballet scores for Ballet Rambert and London Contemporary Dance Theatre. It was his incredibly popular Requiem that established Burgon as a serious composer, and his reputation was sealed. Much of his fame developed from his wonderful scores for film and television, including Brideshead Revisited in 1981, which led to many offers from Hollywood. He is also known for his music for Doctor Who in the 1970s, Bleak House (1985), the Chronicles of Narnia (1988-90), Robin Hood (1991), and The Forsyte Saga (2002-03).
It would be wrong to pigeon hole Burgon in the film/television composer bracket. His Viola Concerto, know as Ghosts of the Dance was commissioned by concert soloist Philip Dukes, and was influenced by 1930s American dance music and the effects of the Depression. In his Cello Concerto, a piece which explores the relationship between soloist and orchestra in a novel way, Burgon began to see the soloist as a figure in Film Noir, pursued by dark forces but prevailing and eventually escaping to a dreamlike ‘Hollywood Heaven’ world.
For a flavour of some of the music we’ll be performing at the concert listen to our Spotify playlist.
Thursday 21 July, 7.30pm
St John’s, Smith Square
Tickets: £34.50, £28, £18
Extracts from TV and Film scores
The event will be presented by Monty Python’s Terry Jones.
It feels strange to be writing a blog post called Out of Office, when my internship at CLS, which began in June, is the only time I have ever worked in one! For eight months of the year, I pretend to be vastly intellectual at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (nicknamed the Paul McCartney Fame School), studying for a degree in arts management. While there, my time is usually divided between lectures (on subjects ranging from the theatrical management philosophies of David Garrick to Twitter tips), getting involved in Liverpool’s thriving arts scene and trying to work out who will be the next Beatles so that for the rest of my life I can exaggerate about how close we all were at uni!
Last weekend, I returned to ‘the north’ to move, with three course-mates, out from the constrictions of student halls and into a house, where we all agreed that true student liberation could finally begin. With the help of an old (and rather cliché) shopping trolley we found in our halls, no doubt an abandoned trophy brought back by some revellers a few nights before, we set about moving the vast quantities of items that had suddenly accumulated in our tiny student rooms. The fact that the new house was literally across the street seemed irrelevant as we battled with oddly shaped bags, printers and the sideways drift of the trolley due to a particularly dodgy wheel. By the end of a number of sweaty hours, all I wanted was to collapse on my new bed and never move again.
I am hoping that my return to Liverpool in September will bring with it some more of the exciting cultural experiences I was fortunate enough to be involved with throughout my first year at university. As a meek-faced fresher, I expected the city to be continuously living in the shadow of the ‘fab four’ with John Lennon shrines on every other street corner and endless repeats of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ on local radio. However the advancement, innovation and sheer enormity of the arts scene in Liverpool is one to be marveled at and, if you get the chance, thoroughly participated in. I was lucky enough to witness a free concert by the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in my first week, which set the bar for everything that was to come. From fashion shows in night clubs, films in bombed-out churches and Kim Cattrall in Shakespeare, Liverpool really does have it all (so much so that my friends from home are beginning to suspect that I am getting paid to advertise the city to them). All this being said, I am so excited to be working ‘in the big smoke’ with CLS. I know my work in the office will help me so much when I’m out again.