I bought tickets for 2 gigs today – the Dark Star Orchestra at the Garage in Islington next month and Comus at the Borderline in April. I’d gone to buy tickets for DSO on several occasions but always got annoyed about the cost of the fees that were added. They add £2.50 on top of the ticket price and then charge an additional £1.65 to post the things to you! You can’t even avoid the latter charge by collecting the tickets at the venue because they charge you £1.65 for that as well – IN FACT they even charge you £1.65 for e-mailing them for you to print out yourself – how does that work?
In the end I found that if I bought both sets of tickets together I only got charged one lot of £1.65 so I did that and spent the last of my birthday money! I had thought about buying a little behringer mixer from ebay but they kept going for too much so I gave up! So two gigs to look forward to plus the one this afternoon at the BBC!
So I’ve arrived at Broadcasting House and I’m glad to see I’m not the oldest, youngest or scruffiest member of the audience! I’m also pleased to see that Martin Carthy is scheduled to play Sir Patrick Spens – I’ve always loved the Fairport version from Farewell Farewell. What is really weird is that I was talking about the shipping forecast on the way here and the Seamus Heaney poem is one of the readings! Odd that it got a mention on the radio the other day too!
I don’t think I actually knew Martin was going to be on when I applied for the tickets and it wouldn’t have made any difference as I’d had tickets for the In Tune Christmas Special two years ago but hadn’t been able to get there because of work – it was a nice bonus though. We were ushered into the hall just after 4pm and as luck would have it I ended up in the middle of the fourth row. The studio was lit like a TV set so it felt like watching a big TV screen. I sat while we waited and looked at the microphones on the stage and tried to work out which were going to be used for each act – such an equipment anorak!!
I think my highlight was the Aurora Orchestra performing Metamorphosen by Strauss. This took up a huge chunk of the hour long section of the show between the 5pm news and the news an hour later. Sitting just a few feet away from them it was wonderful to watch the interplay between the musicians and the expressions on their faces as well as the little glances between them. The best bit was a brief silence about half way through where it looked a though they were shaking the last remnants from the previous notes from their instruments and you could almost see the sound falling towards the floor.
One of the surprises to me was Noah Stewart, an up and coming tenor about to make his Covent Garden debut. I’ve never been fond of Opera, in fact when I get asked about what music I like I usually say “anything but Opera”, I certainly never seen an Opera singer in action at such close quarters. I was struck firstly by the power of his voice – his microphone was four to five feet away! I loved the concentration on his face and you could tell he was singing using his whole body. I almost (only almost) had an epiphany about Opera on the spot.
You can see the playlist from the show on the Radio 3 website and the pictures above are from the Radio 3 Facebook page. Parts of the show were videoed and I believe the video will be on the website too at some point. The problem with In Tune is that it clashes with PM on Radio 4 – I might have to try and even them up and make sure I give In Tune a fairer crack of the listening whip!
After all it’s always good to be reminded how a shitty place this world would be without music.