Sunday, April 6, 2014

Brigid Coleridge : Elgar Rooms

Firstly I should admit that my knowledge of 'Classical' Music is so shallow you probably couldn't drown an ant in it. In fact this is - I think - the first live 'Classical' Music I've seen live. So this isn't going to be an incredibly in-depth and technical review.

As I've noted elsewhere part of the reason for writing these blogs / reviews is it forces me to write something every day - or almost every day - to keep me writing.

This was part of The Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room Classical Coffee Morning series. The Elgar Room isn't the most exciting of rooms to listen to music in because it has the vibe of the cafeteria of a medium sized company in the Berkshire area. This is especially disappointing as the Royal Albert Hall itself is rather wonderful. For your money you get to watch some music and get a cup of tea or coffee and one of the world's smallest pastries. But mocking the generosity of the Royal Albert Hall when it comes to pastries is besides the point we're here for the music, not the croissants.

Brigid Coleridge is an Australian violinist who I suspect would have got the Pre-Raphaelites busy with their paint brushes. On a less shallow note she's also currently a student at the Royal College of Music studying for an Artist Diploma.

She was supported on piano by Umberto Jacopo Laureti, who looked suitably like a piano diva, which was reassuring. In fact he reminded me a little - and forgive me for this - of Lee Curreri aka Bruno Martelli from Fame. Hey, stop judging at the back I don't have much musical hinterland to draw from here.

They played Beethoven's Sonata for piano and violin in A Major (Op. 30, No.1) and Franck's Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano.

As I said I'm something of a musical ignoramus so I can't comment on technical details but I preferred the Franck to the Beethoven. For me there was more to it. As someone once said 'All art aspires to the condition of music' and this is because the effect it has on you is almost unconscious. It can divert past conscious thought and have an impact on you that is totally unexpected. That's particular true of music without voices or in languages you don't understand.

One of the best illustrations of that is in The Shawshank Redemption : "I have no idea to this day what those two Italians ladies were singing about. Truth is I don't wanna know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words and makes your heart ache because of was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away and for the briefest of moments every last man at Shawshank felt free." Which is a solid a way of explaining what music can do to you as any, even that smart quip above about all art.

The Beethoven was nice but I still had distractions running through my little head. The Franck though set me free. Yes, I suspect on a second listen it might seem too romantic or too much frippery. Yes, I'm aware that Beethoven is a genius and that - confession - I'd never heard of Franck but the Franck took me out of myself and that drab little room. I'll have to find it and listen again.

So time well-spent, especially as Brigid did nice little introductions to both pieces of music that helped put them into context.

It was a new experience for me and I did find myself wondering why do Classical Music 'fans/aficionados/audiences' not applaud between movements? And also muses on the incredible fact that a hollow wooden box, some strings and a bow with added human being can make such a fantastic range of sounds.

Anyway, I'll definitely try to get to another of these 'Classical Coffee Mornings'. It's a nice way to start a day.

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