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  • The Royal Festival Hall – wrecked by boozing? » Christopher Gunning
    through When it opened in 1951 it was among the most progressive concert halls anywhere in the world and despite various acoustic issues it is still widely loved with its wide open spaces and sweeping staircases the whole exuding an atmosphere of restrained dignity But what of the area in which it now sits Since the redevelopment in 2005 7 there has been a proliferation of bars and restaurants I counted more than twenty Then there s a collection of market stalls between the hall and road serving chocolates ice creams and street food Walk a little further and there are pubs and umpteen more restaurants Good you might think it s nice to have somewhere to go before and after a concert But wait few of the customers are going to a concert a film at the NFT or a play at the National Theatre No they re here to eat and drink and to drink a lot Back to my Sibelius concert with that wonderful music playing to a half filled hall I came out and wanted to saunter quietly along the Thames and Hungerford Bridge From each eatery drinkery loud music pumped out Ten thousand people shouted to make themselves heard above the din Empty beer bottles and dog ends lined the rails overlooking the river It was no better walking along towards Shakespeare s Globe where another few thousand congregated to shout at one another What I m saying is that a boozing culture has invaded London s prime cultural hub and frankly it s pretty much wrecked I once asked a waiter in one of the eateries how often he attended a concert They have concerts in there was the reply such is the disconnect between the venue and its environs I thought it was

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/2015/06/14/the-royal-festival-hall-wrecked-by-boozing/ (2016-02-16)
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  • PROM 52: Param Vir’s new commission, Sibelius, Bantock, Elgar » Christopher Gunning
    were not shared by all My friend loved every minute of it and when I dared express a slightly negative view grew rather cross so I will listen again on iPlayer and I suggest dear reader that you listen for yourself too The next item Sibelius s Violin Concerto also presented some difficulties It s a great favourite of mine and I m sorry to say this performance did not always do it for me Lisa Batiashvili is a very confident and gifted player and barring one or two excusable intonation fluffs negotiated the first movement s technical difficulties as if most didn t exist However this movement was curiously lacking in drama or sufficient depth of expression partly this was due to her resistance to take her time over things generally it all seemed quite breathless to me Did the orchestra also feel as if on auto pilot Strange The second movement fared better although once again I felt soloist and orchestra could have lingered a little more In the final movement Batiashvili displayed her formiddable technique and seemed happiest here Her encore was an arrangement of Tsintsadze s Lele a Georgian piece few would have known prior to the concert but charming in its way The Celtic Symphony is one of several Bantock works to be performed at the Proms this year following a lengthy period of almost total neglect During his own lifetime things were remarkably different and Bantock was regarded as one of Britain s greatest composers much admired by Elgar and Vaughan Williams among others The late Vernon Handley was largely responsible for keeping the Bantock flame from bbeing totally extintuished but despite ardent support from him and some other dedicated supporters Bantock has remained a background figure talked of in respectful terms but seldom played His music is steeped in tradition in general and the functional tonality of the late romantics in particular Once Vaughan Williams and then the likes of Britten and Tippett came on the scene Bantock s world became an unfashionable one but now we can listen once again with fresh ears and it will be interesting to see if his music gains general support once more It would be thrilling to report that this almost forgotten man s work reveals blazing genius but the Celtic Symphony doesn t quite support such a view Bantock s world is a quieter more intimate place where gentle melodies and sometimes mystical harmonies reside The Celtic Symphony is beautifully written for his chosen string orchestra and wait for it six harps We are in the dreamy landscapes of Scotland but with dance like rhythms and themes never far away The mysterious atmospheres were beautifully presented by Oramo the pianissimo strings perfectly balanced and oh so breathtakingly quiet When things livened up the strings responded to Oramo with joyous vivacity and we were reminded of Sibelius s more energetic moments or even Bartok s flirtations with folk dance music The whole piece was really beautifully

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/2013/08/22/bantock-and-elgar-prom-52-param-virs-new-commission-sibelius-bantock-elgar/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Subscribe to Newsletter » Christopher Gunning
    Gallery Writings My Works Concert Reviews Blog Contact Categories Blog Concert Reviews My Works News Recent Posts Diana Brekalo to perform CG s Piano Sonata St Olave s Church Hart Street London EC3R 7NB 2nd July at 1pm The Royal Festival Hall wrecked by boozing Christopher s Sixth Symphony Night Voyage and Seventh Symphony released on CD PROM 52 Param Vir s new commission Sibelius Bantock Elgar Ian Bostridge Daniel

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/2013/01/30/subscribe-to-newsletter/#FSContact2 (2016-02-16)
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  • CD – Concertos for Guitar, Clarinet and Flute » Christopher Gunning
    the composer spent in Mallorca some years ago Michael Whight the principal clarinettist in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is the soloist in the Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra This work composed in 2006 has a lively first movement a rather dark middle movement and an energetic and slightly jazzy finale Overall it is rather more urban in feeling than the other two concertos and the composer thinks of it as a London piece the capital city being his home town The Concertino for Flute and Small Orchestra was composed for Catherine Handley in 2011 as a result of trips to the Welsh mountains valleys and villages where Catherine lives The outer movements are mostly light and airy while the central movement is especially quiet and lyrical a reminder that it is still possible to experience welcome feelings of timelessness among the inspiring Welsh scenery Christopher Gunning worked closely with all three soloists whom he counts as friends Throughout the CD the soloists are complimented by superb playing by members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom the composer has worked frequently his 3rd and 4th Symphonies are also recorded by the RPO for the Chandos label coupled with his Concerto for Oboe and Strings his daughter Verity Gunning playing the solo part Watch out also for the large scale 5th Symphony to be released by Discovery soon Track Listing Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra Requerdos do Mallorca Moderately 10 03 Slowly but with movement 6 35 Lively 9 57 Craig Ogden solo guitar Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra Moderately quick 7 48 Very slow 5 02 Animated 5 52 Michael Whight solo clarinet Concertino for Flute and Small Orchestra Bright but steady Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted 8 04 Slow and thoughtful And time stood still

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/cd-concertos-for-guitar-clarinet-and-flute/ (2016-02-16)
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  • CD-Piano-Sonata-Trio » Christopher Gunning
    a title Cradle Song But baby won t sleep and the music stops and starts each time in a new variation and mother even tries another tune in the middle There is a suggestion that sleep might descend toward the end but it is not certain The fifth and final movement is mostly stormy the whole built around augmented triads and arpeggios I remember composing it during some especially violent winter weather and it shows despite there being something a little less dramatic in the middle Diana premiered this work in a concert at a church in Notting Hill Gate in March 2015 and has played it several times since Trio for Violin Cello and Piano My Piano Trio was commissioned by the London Piano Trio and I worked on it during the early part of 2014 It takes the form of four contrasting character pieces which are all rather personal each movement strongly influenced by scenes from my life In the first sub titled Au Jardin de Maurice I remember being in Bélvédere the little house and garden of Maurice Ravel at Montfort l Amaury There he wrote his two piano concertos the Bolero L enfant et les Sortileges and several other works Being there left a profound impression it was as if the great composer was still present and might even reappear for the house is much as he left it His garden to the rear is also charmingly quirky My piece is thus a sort of hommage a Ravel with many references to his style and indeed his own Piano Trio The second movement is subtitled Walking with Alan and the person referred to is Alan Bush Alan was the first real composer to give me encouragement during evening classes at the local educational institute After our

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/cd-piano-sonata-trio/ (2016-02-16)
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  • 1219689122skylines_cover » Christopher Gunning
    Parent Page October 29 2011 Home About Christopher Buy CDs Film TV scores Concert Music Listen Discography Shop Videos Reviews Gallery Writings My Works Concert Reviews Blog Contact Follow Me HOME ABOUT BUY CDs FILM TV SCORES CONCERT MUSIC LISTEN

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/discography/1219689122skylines_cover/ (2016-02-16)
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  • CD – Skylines (contains the theme from ‘Agatha Christie’s Poirot’) » Christopher Gunning
    soloist Two other tunes started life as tracks for television A Theme for Black Magic is an extended version of the mysterious commercials which always carried the tag line Who knows the secret of the Black Magic box What s your Problem was a consumer programme which ran in the West Country In each case I d always wanted to extend the music beyond the original 30 second format Otherwise all the tracks are new and relate to people and places I ve known Consequently some are redolent of the 70 s 80 s and 90 s Some are sweet and gentle Sweet Child And a Bird Watches A Sad Tale and Was it Love Others are fast up tempo and jazzy Interstae 95 Street Games Fast Dada Rockers and Pomp I played most of the instruments myself gradually putting the tracks together at home in between film TV scores and writing my concert music and I had a lot of fun returning to the project from time to time I added Stan Sulzmann and Phil Todd on several tracks and Nicole Tibbels was summoned at short notice to make her special contribution to A Theme for Black Magic Finally I mixed nearly everything myself venturing out to Lansdowne Recording Studios for Chris Dibble to mix A Theme for Black Magic and The Belgian Detective Track Listing Skyline dawn 1 36 Interstate 95 4 07 With the Right One 4 52 Street Games 5 24 Sweet Child 5 01 A Theme for Black Magic 3 03 Fast Dada 5 13 They Dine in Smart Cafes 4 14 Rockers 3 43 The Belgian Detective theme from Agatha Christie s Poirot 2 27 And a Bird Watches 4 35 Pomp 4 46 Desert 2 06 A Sad Tale 3 42 What s

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/product-skylines/ (2016-02-16)
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  • CD – Poirot » Christopher Gunning
    the Lakes through high tension The ABC Murders The Death of Mrs Inglethorpe and part of Death on the Nile to ethnic the middle section of Death on the Nile Nursery Rhymes are elaborated upon in How Does Your Garden Grow and One Two Buckle My Shoe and Poirot s own theme appears now and then with his own thinking theme featured in Grey Cells Several of the tracks were originally included on the Virgin CD from 20 years ago but the music from Death on the Nile and Five Little Pigs has never appeared before The booklet containing English French and German texts has notes written by the composer explaining the birth of the title theme with names of individual musicians when specially featured The album was engineered by Chris Dibble with whom Christopher Gunning has worked closely for a number of years Track Listing The Belgian Detective 2 30 A Country Retreat 4 53 The ABC Murders 4 34 Grey Cells 4 21 To the Lakes 2 18 The Double Clue 5 09 War 2 29 The Innocence of Caroline Crale 5 30 Amyas s Last Painting 4 22 How Does Your Garden Grow 9 05 The Death

    Original URL path: http://www.christopher-gunning.co.uk/product-poirot/ (2016-02-16)
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