sat 20/07/2024

Charles Hazlewood On Music In Bristol | reviews, news & interviews

Charles Hazlewood On Music In Bristol

Charles Hazlewood On Music In Bristol

The globetrotting conductor explains why his latest project is closer to home

Charles Hazlewood: 'The intention is that there will be a sense of discovery, a kind of collective odyssey'Chris Christodoulou

Next Friday, my amazing period-instrument orchestra, Army of Generals, begins a new residency at St George’s Bristol. The aim of this unconventional and high-octane series of concerts - which will be performed by what I refer to as my crack squad of period instrumentalists - is to raise the bar for people’s engagement with music and to bring some musical protein to a city which I think is so desperately in need of it.

As someone who was born and raised in Somerset, I have for a long time been frustrated by the low provision of music in the West Country. If you drive south and west from London, in the general direction of Cornwall, the last full-time professional orchestra before Lands End is in Bournemouth; Bristol, the capital of the West, is unique compared to any other city of equivalent size, for not having a full-time orchestra. Or opera company. Or dance company. Its main concert venue, Colston Hall, is disfigured by the fact that Colston was a prominent slaver, and plans to build a concert arena which could play host to first-division bands were recently scotched by a city council blighted by inertia, low imagination and ineptitude. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic people doing some great things – the Bristol Ensemble, and St George's itself are wonderful examples – but it’s simply not enough.

ptf_sat-_191My first attempt to redress the situation was Play the Field (pictured above), a festival which took place on the Somerset Levels in the summer of 2009, and took that rarefied beast, the symphony orchestra, out of the narrow confines of a concert hall and set it free in a field. Thanks to modern technology we can make an orchestra sound great in the open air but, and this is what really appeals to me, audiences don’t have to suffer the ludicrous etiquette of the concert hall – don’t whisper, don’t eat sweets, don’t shuffle about – which merely alienates people and makes them feel self-conscious.

In fact, these rules are a late-19th, early-20th-century convention; until that time, people would go to a gig and they’d drink and chat to their mates – they might even play cards – and if the music was any good, they’d sit up and listen. Play the Field was an attempt to return to those halcyon days when, as the music critic Alex Ross puts it so eloquently, concerts were more like “eclectic hootenannies”. People could engage with the music without worrying about whether or not they were clapping in the right place or wearing the right clothes.

Play the Field was an enormous success. It was attended by 4,000 people, over half of whom had never heard an orchestra live before, and will be back in June - but what of Bristol?

The residency by Army of Generals, which is called Abstractions and Refractions, at St George’s Bristol is the first of what I hope will be many projects to respond to this need. I founded Army of Generals to record with me all the music for my BBC films on Mozart, Beethoven and The Birth of British Music. They have been seen and heard by millions on telly and at St George's they go live! As all the instruments are from the 18th century, the effect is quite unlike a modern orchestra - there's a world of difference between the sound that a body of string players make if they're playing gut strings as opposed to tungsten steel.

A period-instrument orchestra can play much lighter, more dramatically – more fleet of foot, you could say – and it can play quieter, summoning up a completely different, translucent, set of colours. Obviously, musical instruments continued to evolve and became more sophisticated over the years - a modern-day oboe works much better than an 18th-century one – and one of the things that I value highly about working with period orchestras is that in order to make it sound good, the players have to invest more of themselves in what they are playing.

armyofgeneralsThe whole essence of the series at St George’s is to look at some great glittering jewels of 18th-century music and, because Army of Generals (pictured left) is a rather unconventional period orchestra, we will also be exploring some contemporary music that comments on that 18th-century spirit. It’s very rare to find a period-instrument orchestra playing contemporary music but I think there is an absolute logic in doing so – after all, modern orchestras think nothing of playing Bach or Mozart and jump around from period to period, so why shouldn’t a period-instrument orchestra? Because the instruments sound so different, it sheds a completely different light on the music.

I have a peculiar, almost perverse obsession with the idea of an artist of today looking down the long lens of history

Which is why, in addition to pieces by Haydn and Mozart, we will be playing Moz-Art à la Haydn by Russian composer Alfred Schnittke. I have a peculiar, almost perverse obsession with the idea of an artist of today looking down the long lens of history and taking some truly great work, breaking it down and creating something which is simultaneously completely new and yet true to the original. In Moz-Art à la Haydn, Schnittke takes little fragments of a pantomime score of Mozart’s and snips it up like a collage. Sometimes it is very discernibly Mozart and at other times it is as if Schnittke has thrown a bottle of hydrochloric acid over it or sprayed it with glitter. It is a fantastically playful take on both Mozart and Haydn.

Of course, St George’s is a traditional concert hall, albeit a spectacularly beautiful one with a gorgeous creamy acoustic, so to give it a slightly mellower vibe, Gavin Pretor-Pinney (author of the bestselling book The Cloudspotter’s Guide) will be projecting cloud images onto the walls and ceiling of this beautiful old space, as a kind of visual counterpoint to the music – after all, clouds are a perfect example of abstraction and refraction.

It won’t be a conventional concert. The intention is that there will be a sense of discovery, a kind of collective odyssey. I'll talk about the music as we go along. Everyone is welcome and every response is valid – and if the audience goes away just slightly changed by the experience, so much the better.

Modern orchestras think nothing of playing Bach or Mozart and jump around from period to period, so why shouldn’t a period-instrument orchestra?

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Comments

What's the Arts Desk doing giving coverage to such a terrible self-publicist? 'Amazing...high-octane...crack squad': and that's only the first paragraph. Not for you to say, Mr. Hazlewood. Standards are slipping. Who next? Vettriano on art? Jeffrey Archer on literature?

What a lot of hot air. Not worthy of Arts Desk. Bristol is a vibrant city artistically, not least the diverse, high quality music programme at St George's, my favourite concert venue in Britain. The residency there of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has provided memorable events over many years.

So Colston was a slaver. What do you want Bristol to do? Knock it down? Increase taxes to build a replacement hall? What a waste of taxpayers money that would be!

Rot from start to finish. It may well be that Hazlewood's band is good, but why talk it up at the expense of all else? In trying to state his various cases, Hazlewood writes nonsense about the opposite point of view. So, bullshit about concert halls, non-authentic bands and Bristol to name but a few.

As the conductor of two of Bristol's six (!) very good and enthusiastically-supported amateur orchestras, I agree heartily with the four previous comments on this largely ill-conceived and arrogant article. The few justified comments about the lack of support from the Council (and even that is improving) aside, much of this is tosh and paints Bristol as a cultural black hole. Anyone who lives or works there will tell you that this is wholly misleading. It is true that Bristol lacks a large professional symphony orchestra. Until the Arts Council (or a very wealthy philanthropist) magics £15m out of a hat to set one up, it isn't going to have one either. If Mr Hazlewood has any suggestions, I for one would be delighted to hear them. Bristol does, however, have regular visits from the Philharmonia, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, which I fancy is able to prodcue perfomances of a standard far in excess of Mr Hazlewood's pickup band. The OAE also has a long and honourable history of outreach work in the city. The Bristol Ensemble (which Mr Hazlewood does admittedly mention) is a professional chamber orchestra which has survived and grown in the face of seemingly impossibly circumstances over the last twenty years under the leadership of its founder, Roger Huckle. Without Arts Council funding (or indeed loathsome articles such as this designed to be derogatory of everyone else), it produces performances of a wide range of music to a fine standard which I very much doubt Mr Hazlewood's band will better. Bristol also supports a large number of good-quality choirs, from the 200 - member Bristol Choral Society to the outstanding chamber choir The Exultate Singers. Want to see the St Matthew Passion with soloists like James Gilchrist, or Messiah with Emma Kirkby? Head west. The chamber orchestra which I conduct, the Bristol Classical Players, has attracted soloists of the calibre of Stephen Hough (who is returning in 2011, along with a first visit from Nicola Benedetti). Bristol's other amateur groups present a superb variety of repertoire. In the current year, for example, a concert goer in Bristol could see or have seen, given by orchestras which approach professional standard, performances of The Rite of Spring, concertos by Korngold and Rachmaninov, Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, Shostakovich 10th Symphony, Beethoven 9th, The Planets, Bruckner 7th, a complete Brahms cycle and goodness knows what else besides. Several of these orchestras have also got involved with the kind of 'alternative presentation' which Mr Hazlewood apparently thinks he came up with; the famous Balloon Fiesta has been treated to perfomances by the New Bristol Sinfonia for a number of years, while the Bristol Concert Orchestra run popular children's concerts and my own Brunel Sinfonia (a full-size band) have run outreach projects which, with the buy-in of the Bristol business community, organised a commission from the late Geoffrey Burgon and introduced 800 economically disadvantaged children to classical music. Rather than take what I say on trust, may I suggest that any readers in the South West pay a visit to Bristol and see for themselves? Better still, maybe Mr Hazlewood himself could drop by - ideally with his eyes and ears open. Instead of writing articles like this, he could try drawing attention to the excellent work that is already going on in a great and artistically vibrant city.

Well said, Tom. Why this appalling piece of self-promotion by a pretty average conductor has been given space on The Arts Desk is quite beyond me. Normally, next to a desk one will find a waste bin. Which is where this mean-spirited and self serving nonsense belongs.

Here here! I resisted taking the bait in responding to this article this morning, and am glad I did, for all these previous comments constitute far more complete a critique. I just watched a few minutes of Hazelwood on Mozart on BBC4, playing the first few bars of Symphony No.39 with just a handful(!) of violins -- it sounded pitiful. The tone of the article here, regardless of the factual accuracy of its content, is far from ingratiating. And does anyone fall for all this trendification of classical music? Can't people be credited with a bit of intelligence. Are people so unimaginative that they need pictures of clouds to provide a -- and these two words make me shudder -- 'mellower vibe'?

Funny isn't it? How bold and brave people are on the internet where they can write under a pseudonym (with the exception of Mr Gauterin). And again with the exception of the conductor, it's very easy to assassinate someone's character when you're sitting comfortably in the dark. You say Charles Hazlewood is a "self-publicist" as if it's some sort of crime: rubbish. He's someone that makes work and creates opportunities: by definition he has to be a self publicist; who else is going to do it. Over the years, in the process of working himself, he has employed literally thousands of musicians. Many of you have taken the the view that he's attacking the Arts in Bristol. He isn't, he's simply calling for more and more diverse work. At best you lack objectivity and at worst you're paranoid. Charles would seek to broaden the audience for classical music. I'm at a loss why you should you should be so threatened. If you don't like what he does no one is forcing you to experience it. Switch off, go elsewhere. Why is it for you to say how music should be delivered? If he wants to show clouds, fine. If artists don't try anything different, nothing different will ever happen. Oh... right... I see... that's what you want. Get a life. PS. You want to respond to this, do so with your full name.

As I see it, Ewan, there was one serious imbalance in Charles's piece, and I don't think the objections to it were paranoid, just proud of the music scene in Bristol: he did, after all, write that he wanted 'to bring some musical protein to a city which I think is so desperately in need of it.' Fortunately we have a balanced defence from Tom Gauterin, to whom my thanks for taking the time to argue in detail. I'm proud that the Arts Desk can present both sides of the argument through the facility for intelligent comment, to which you have added. And to be fair, two other commenters did leave what we can presume are their real names. Commenters are equally entitled to use monikers, so long as their remarks stop short of abuse, which is moderated here. I'm not quite comfortable with the 'either...or' aspects of Charles's argument. Yes, a period-instrument orchestra CAN 'play much lighter, more dramatically – more fleet of foot, you could say – and it can play quieter',. but so can a latter-day chamber or symphony orchestra, and investing in the music depends to a certain extent on belief in the conductor, not just the instruments you happen to be playing. I'd like also like to challenge the notion about 'the ludicrous etiquette of the concert hall'. I wouldn't want people shuffling or talking in the finale of Mahler 9; they can do what they like in Eine Kleine Nachtmusilk. It's surely horses for courses. So alternatives like the work of Gavin Pretor-Pinney, a wonderful writer, are always welcome. But they are just that - alternatives, not the solution. Anyway, I wish Charles well in Bristol.

Hello, Ewan Thompson. My name is Matthew Kenneth Somerton-Rayner, or MattSR as I posted earlier, which isn't really a pseudonym, when you think about it. Where to start? I don't know how you extrapolate that Charles Hazlewood has employed "thousands of musicians", as if he's some sort of musical charity. I'd be interested to hear where you get that figure from, given that much of his work is with BBC orchestras, who are employed by the BBC on a salaried basis, and his Army of Generals are an "ad-hoc" band, most of whom have employment elsewhere, and are assembled my CH as and when needed. I can only assume that you haven't read Tom Gauterin's- (another pseudonym!)- response to this article- if you had, then surely you would understand why he, and others, are aggrieved by it. The tone of the piece is that Bristol is a cultural wasteland and that the saviour is Charles Hazlewood, who pops in occasionally with his temporary orchestra, and then flits away again. Meanwhile those who have been working hard for many years to create a long term and sustainable musical fabric within the city are dismissed as if they do not exist. And forgive me if I'm out of touch, but I'm of the view that great music, performed with passion and insight, does not require a paint by numbers explanation by the conductor, projections of clouds, or any other gimmick to engage an audience. When I listen at home to my CD of, for one example of many, Karajan conducting Mahler 9, I don't feel the need to put on a light show, because the music speaks for itself. Anything else would be a distraction. Clouds included.

Charles Hazelwood would like more quality music provision in the South West. He would like to tempt a new audience to listen to such music. He is willing to experiment with presentation styles in order to make this happen. Why is he being vilified for this? There are very few people who have the passion, bravery and ability of Charles Hazlewood. Perhaps we would do better to forgive a bit of self publicity and hope that he does inspire more people to come to concerts. I am very happy for people like HH to go to the classical music concerts he enjoys. I question his right to belittle passionate professionals with comments like 'does anyone fall for all this trendification of classical music?' I wonder if there was someone who bemoaned Peter Brooks version of A Mid Summer Nights Dream as trendification of Shakespeare? Good luck to you Mr Hazlewood.

I always understood Charles Hazelwood hailed from St Albans: so much for being a west country boy as he proclaims! Shomemistake shorely?

"Musical protein to a city which I think is so desperately in need of it". Spend any weekend in Bristol, and you are spoilt for choice. St Georges, The Colston Hall, The Cathedral, not to mention the Parish Churches which regularly put on excellent concerts. Bristol is also a hub for young people to develop their talents. Encouraging directors help young musicians to nurture their art, and there are many oppurtunities to perfom and interact with music all year round. I would argue that the smaller scale of Bristol provides a more fruitful atmosphere than that of the busy Capital, and audiences can aquaint themselves with numerous high-quality choirs, orchestras and soloists. Perhaps Mr Hazlewood should stay in London, as Bristol is doing just fine, thank you very much.

I had no idea my words would create such rage. I am interested in Bristol because it is a very vibrant place. I have every respect for the multitude of amateur musicmaking projects in the city. I am grateful for every appearance by BSO, OAE, Philharmonia, Welsh National Opera etc. Suzanne Rolt and her team at St George's have been doing brilliant work for years. And British culture would be much the poorer without Portishead, Massive Attack, Andy Sheppard, Tricky to name a few. BUT I would still like to see much much more music citywide. Is that such an awful wish?

Yes, David is surely spot on in pointing out that Hazelwood's either/or attitude is problematic, and this is probably what rubs people up the wrong way. I would add that it's rather too simplistic to cite historical precedent to argue that people should do what they want during performances. We don't live in the C19th, and the way we experience music today is totally different. I daresay that when we can listen to, say, the 'Jupiter' symphony any time of day at the touch of the button, and have it on in the background while we iron/read/hoover or whatever, attending a live performance takes on a different meaning. Ultimately, listening is a communal act and I really don't think there's anything particularly stuffy about sitting there without disturbing everyone else. In much the same way as it's irritating to have constant chatter in the cinema. The problem, then, is that Hazelwood's rhetorical enthusiasm implies that there's an inherent stuffiness to the way a lot of people choose to listen to classical music, and in so doing I fear he risks alienating a lot of people who he needs on his side. That said, his idea of performing C20th works on period instruments is fascinating, especially if one subscribes to Taruskin's view that the 'authenticity' of period performance lies more in its reflection of a modernist aesthetic than any realistic claim to historical accuracy.

Mr Hazlewood - For me, the part which has insulted me the most is that you refer to us as being "desperately lacking" in "musical protein" for the simple fact that the ensembles are NOT full-time 'professionals' bringing home a fat pay cheque for their performances, and that your "army" is here to rescue us. This is probably not the best way to attract followers to your new residency. You absolutely cannot claim that there is "low provision for music in the West Country" as that is NOT the reality. The music IS there and a lot of it is of very high standard. The fact we're not all paid professional rates is neither here nor there, if your quest really is purely to bring more 'meat' to Bristol music scene. Or are we only valid if the big money comes in with it?

I am glad that Mr Hazlewood has been willing to contribute to this discussion. There are a great many people in Bristol who would be delighted to see a full-time, properly funded regular professional orchestra based in the city. It would be able to do a lot of good and would, I suspect, have a galvanising effect similar to that seen in Birmingham following the opening of Symphony Hall. There are also many people in Bristol who have tried over the years to set up such an orchestra. Both the West of England Philharmonic and the Brunel Ensemble have come and gone. What remains in Bristol is a core of remarkably committed realists, who see the difficulties and provide music to the greatest extent they can. The financial obstacles are now quite possibly greater than they have been since the 1930s - but difficulties can give more scope for ingenuity. I think nobody disagrees that it would be great to have more music in Bristol. But: innovative, irregular bands come and go. They drop in now and again, give concerts for a few years, and run out of money. If we are talking about providing 'musical protein', Bristol is the lucky recipient of the occasional steak. What the city needs, though, is a herd of cows, which will breed and grow. I would therefore like to extend an invitation to Mr Hazlewood. Charles (if I may) - you live near Taunton, I live near Bristol. If you would like to meet to discuss how exactly we could try to set up a Bristol orchestra that is: - professional - full time - fully funded - designed to bring in new audiences - be a focal point for the cultural life of the South West then I would be delighted to buy you a cup of coffee (or a pint, maybe even two). If you'd like to do that, please drop me a line. My email address is tomgauterin@yahoo.co.uk Two brains are always better than one - so I look forward to hearing from you.

I am inclined to think that Charles Hazlewood's statement of his ambition to 'raise the bar for people’s engagement with music and to bring some musical protein to a city which I think is so desperately in need of it,' says more about his gimmicky self-promotion than about his knowlege of how many superb performances of all types of music happen in Bristol. Those of us who are already seriously 'engaged with music' in the city find a wonderful choice of 'protein' offered by all the performers and venues quoted by others above (to which I would add the events promoted by the Music Department of the University of Bristol and the city's superb choirs), more than enough for a city that simply cannot afford the luxury of generously sponsoring the Arts, least of all when times are hard. And if he is advocating that meaty concerts should be occasions for eating popcorn, you'd better count me out. Protein and candyfloss are best appreciated when served separately.

Mr Hazelwood, if you wish to see more music citywide, as you say in your response, why are you doing a concert in St George's - a wonderful venue, but not short already of a fantastic mix of music-making, including classical from both professional and amateur groups? Why not do a concert elsewhere in the city, away from centre / Clifton area - for example, in Withywood, as my husband does in his work with children there which is just one part of his vibrant music-making with musicans of all ages and abilities across the city. I agree with LJG's wise words. The tone of your original article is not only fabulously condescending but avoids the inconvenient truth that Bristol enjoys performances from top quality symphony orchestras (conveniently dismissed by you because they appear at a concert hall whose name you object to), recitalists and ensembles as well as having its rich and diverse amateur music-making scene. It seems bewildering that you appear to be attempting to publicise your concert by insulting the very people who you might hope would be coming to hear it!

I think that a salaried professional orchestra for the south-west, based in Bristol, sounds a terrific idea. Maybe one of the London orchestras might consider the move? And would the city council support it?

To be honest, I find this discussion quite hostile towards Mr Hazlewood. He doesnt actually say there is no culture in Bristol, he says it is lacking it and in desperate need of more. Now this he explained by saying there is NO professional orchestra, no ballet company or opera company based in Bristol. It is great that we get visits from all these fantastic orchestras from far and near but that is not the point in this case. It is also great that we have amateur groups doing fantastic work in our city, but still not the same to a full time local orchestra. It really does annoy me that we are beating down someone like him... Maybe he did push the wrong buttons by beeing a little bit too enthusiastic about his own project here, but quite frankly, he is the only one who has been able to gain national press coverage for a Bristol based concert series which can only do our city well. I find the comments rude and exaggerated and wish Mr Halzewood well. Having listened to Charles on BBC Radio3 and Radio2, on TV and having been to his festival, I get his message and I find him a breath of fresh air. He might not always package himself the right way, but he is a strong advocate for a new generation of music lovers and listeners, to which I count myself. As to Tom Gauterin: I find it commical that really his comments are a piece of self promotion as well and while I admire what he is doing, putting your email address down and asking Mr Hazlewood to cooperate is a joke. And this talk about fake names and where he was born or from, what has that got to do with anything... completly irrelevant.

Deutsch, forgive me for wading in against you, but you're misquoting CH. I may be splitting hairs here, but he doesn't mention the word lacking in any way, rather he states that he wants to "bring some musical protein to a city (...) so desperately in need of it". It's a rather different meaning... Any journalist/critic knows full well that their opening paragraph sets the tone for the rest of the article and is by far and away the most important part of the piece. While it's fairly clear that CH hasn't written this article meaning to offend, he has unfortunately done just that. Even by including the word 'more' before 'musical protein', I imagine that most of the criticism he's receiving may have been averted. As for your comments about Tom Gauterin's worthy and admirable 'head on and hands on' approach being nothing but a joke, well, the less said about your attitude the better. I hope that CH does approach TG, since they both want the same thing!

May I say firstly that I am happy for Mr Hazlewood to promote his orchestra and his new approach. I am happy for him to state correctly that Bristol would benefit enormously from a full-time orchestra which had permanent residence somewhere in the city and, actually, I would also encourage audience members to (at particular performances) have a drink and a chat to bring a different feel to the experience of watching a classical concert – perhaps resulting in it being more accessible to those who would not otherwise attend such events. Unfortunately, though, the words Mr Hazlewood chose to use in his opening statement caused me to switch off from any valid debate on performance-related issues because of how significantly he has negated the worth of all of Bristol’s current musical activities - many of which only differ in ‘professionalism’ (whatever the true meaning of that may be) by the sums of money changing hands and the fact they’re not getting national press coverage. Had he simply stated that he thinks Bristol is in need of a professional, full-time orchestra in permanent residence I think no one would take such issue with the article. Instead, intentionally or not, he has implied that there is no music of real substance in the West Country and that he and his Army are bringing it with them, only to disappear when they’re done with us and they have their new headlines to add to their own publicity. Knowing that there is so much provision for high quality music in Bristol, I can only assume his criteria for “musical protein” are that events should command national headlines, high rates of pay and that musicians that do other things part-time don't qualify! I am personally very proud of Bristol’s musicians and other artistic performers – whether or not they are professional, full-time, amateur or otherwise.

I am sure that Charles Hazlewood wrote his article with the best of intentions, but the furore he has provoked would have been avoidable if he acted with a little more insight into human nature . When in his reply he stated that he was surprised at the reaction , it became clear that when tact was handed out, he was the last in the queue . He may ( I hope) one day learn that a little self-deprecatory humour is always more effective in getting people on your side than bombastic pronouncements which, as another correspondent has suggested , verged on and may have crossed the line into arrogance . A good deal of humility, and a great deal of hard work, will now be needed to repair this wholly self-inflicted damage

I recently put on a screening of two documentaries that Charles Hazlewood had made for the BBC on Mozart and Haydn to tie in with the forthcoming performance of The Army of Generals at St. George's. I approached Charles with a view to opening up the themes of his residency through different art forms. I'm planning to put on more screenings related to 'abstractions and refractions' as the residency gathers pace but suggested we open with a couple of documentaries he had made. After watching the films I understood more of the social and cultural context to both composers, the aesthetic and formal construction of their work and on leaving the cinema immediately wanted to listen to their compositions. Audience members were also obviously fired up by the films engaging Charles in discussion. If he brings this openess, insight, passion and enthusiasm and willingness to engage with other cultural institutions and audiences I for one wholeheartedly endorse his injection "of musical protein' into the cultural DNA of Bristol. Mark Cosgrove Head of Programme Watershed Bristol

I can't give my name since I am one of few professional musicians in Bristol who don't need to teach and have a profile here. Mark. Do you actually know what happens outside the Watershed? I'm really sorry but this guy is not the saviour of Bristol's music scene. We don't need all these gimmics and self publicity to make people listen. Good luck to him for the classic fm chillout generation. It has a place. Just as smug self congratulation chills me out. Oh...leaves me cold.

Now on reflection those comments are unkind. And I do wish him a good audience and experience here. And I'm not against him as a great communicator in music. However he is driven by ego that is really a matter for him. Some phrases are unfortunate and a few ideas a little headline grabbing. We have a stellar music making community here precisely because of no support from the council. Who else would be the only one in the country not to fund policing for BBC music live. Who elses councillors wives to organise sea shanties for the festival of the sea who get them from London since they don't know what happens chorally in their own city. Who else builds a magnificent bar for their concert hall and leaves the hall as a testament to the 50s. Nice sounding tho it is. So I am sorry for my imbalance. I have nothing against the guy. We all go around and take the money and run. We all have our cogent argument to put and we have our agenda to promulgate. Sorry too Mark for an unwarranted attack. It seems a good idea to present music like this and draw people. The implication we do nothing is offensive. We do our best against stiff odds. Charles should recruit us as privates to his generals. Otherwise a choir of soloists is battle laden and nonsensical as a strategy in our little and vibrant collectively artistically conscious city. Enough. Apology made, balance restored. I might even come!

Come to hear the city's only professional orchestra The Bristol Ensemble (no Generals, no clouds and no Mr Hazelwood) at Colston Hall for their cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos with Freddy Kempf and their chamber music series at St Georges starting 11th February with the Archduke Trio and Septet. Support your LOCAL musicians...

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