Fears of flatulence prove unfounded
I’ve been meaning to write about this all week, but something else has been taking up all my time.
I’ll confess: my pulse wasn’t exactly racing at the idea of hearing, or indeed seeing, an amateur wind band. I knew from experience how good London’s amateur orchestras can be, but some long-suppressed memory from school had my mind’s ear pre-echoing with flatulence on a frankly deafening scale.
Well, the reality was quite different. Under John Holland’s charismatic direction, the LWO was very loud at times, but never less than tasteful. The cross-capital repertoire – from Gustav Holst’s eerie Hammersmith to local composer Andrew Poppy’s hypnotic pulse-piece If I Could Copy You – was dispatched in unfailingly finessed, full-bodied arrangements. By the end, I had completely forgotten I was watching a wind band at all. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Three thoughts linger:
1. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor may not have been the greatest of all time, but it doesn’t really befit any classical composer to breathe his last at West Croydon station.
2. All Saints Church, which I’ve known from the outside for years, is a glorious building on the inside, too. Memorable as this concert was, however, the place will always be associated in my mind with the woman who sleepwalked to the top of a crane during its refurbishment a few years ago.
3. Walton’s Crown Imperial, which was the highlight of the programme, is arguably the most influential piece of music of the twentieth century. The inspiration for some of John Williams’ most memorable themes is so apparent in its stirring swagger that – London-centric though the evening was – I emerged into the Dulwich night humming a Superman and Star Wars mash-up. Which, unintended as it may have been, was a pretty good finale to a pretty fine night.