Friday, 18 May 2018

Credit where credit is due: the College have finally corrected their website

A thank you to Bournemouth and Poole College who corrected their website earlier this week: it no longer says that my wife conducts the Wessex Starter and Middle Strings (which is good because she stopped doing that just over a year ago).

Monday, 14 May 2018

Vaughan Williams' sublime Sea Symphony

This weekend I had the great pleasure of taking part in a performance of Vaughan Williams' sublime Sea Symphony. This was with the Westbourne Orchestra (in which I play double bass), Brockenhurst Choir and Total Voice Chamber Choir, soloists Samantha Crawford and Alex Cook, conducted by Lee Marchant (only the 5th conductor in the orchestra's 88 year history!), led by Marjory King.

I did not know this work before rehearsals started a few months ago, but it has become one of my favourites.  A work of astonishing breadth and depth, and Vaughan Williams' first symphony, written between 1903 and 1909 when he was in his thirties. It is said that the composer himself fell back in his seat when he attended the first rehearsals, astounded that he could have created something so powerful.

If you've never heard this work before, I think you are in for a real treat.  Here is a link to a video of a magnificent BBC Proms performance from 2013:

"Sakari Oramo conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Proms Youth Choir and soloists Sally Matthews & Roderick Williams for Vaughan Williams 'A Sea Symphony'".

The wonderful music and Walt Whitman's words. Watching the joy on the conductor's face (and his wonderful rapport particularly with the soloists and choirs) and choir members' faces. My favourite bits are the following:

Friday, 11 May 2018

A year ago, Bournemouth and Poole College and the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians carried out an act of senseless destruction, which was not in the interests of the children in my opinion

(Post made at 1727 UK BST time on 11 May 2018 in a personal capacity.  Please see here for important background and disclosure of interests).

An act of destruction

11 May 2017: an act of destruction at the College and the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians

In my view, a year ago (on 11 May 2017), Bournemouth and Poole College and the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians carried out an act of senseless destruction, which was not in the interests of the children or the Centre.  By dismissing a very popular teacher after 13 years of extremely dedicated service, without notice, explanation or thanks, and 3 weeks into the start of the summer term. The day after she had raised concerns informally over the management style at the Centre. She left that meeting (with a senior person at the College) feeling that her concerns had been listened to, and with the understanding that things were going to improve. Yet the very next day she was dismissed in such a callous, senseless manner.

The teacher concerned - my wife - was devastated.  Many, many, parents told us that they were too, and most important, 60 to 70 children from the Wessex Starter and Middle Strings were unable to understand why a teacher they had known in several cases for years (and in many cases had been very fond of) had disappeared suddenly, without reason or even being able to say goodbye.  Many parents found it incredibly difficult to explain to their children what had happened. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether the College's actions then and since are in line with its stated culture.