Dear people who had to sit next to me at Royal Festival Hall tonight. Sorry, I’m so sorry. I thought the worst of my cold was over already because I was more or less all right this afternoon, but of course it renewed itself with a vengeance as soon as I arrived at the venue this evening and thoroughly kicked my ass for the whole time between 7.30 and 10.00pm, as you cannot fail to have noticed. Over the course of the evening, I took four times the recommended dose of cold medicine and I’m not sure it had any effect apart from making me feel stoned.
Anyway. Dear readers, who are a hygienic distance away. I was back at RFH this evening hearing some more classical music. We zoomed forward from the late 18th century last week to the 21st century.
As you can see, there were four pieces of music, some more challenging than others. I need to briefly mention the Flute Concerto, composed by AJ Kernis and performed by star flautist Marina Piccinini, not because it was necessarily my favourite music but because it was pretty stunning in other ways. For a start, it was the first time it had been performed in the UK. For another thing, Kernis wrote it especially for Piccinini. Imagine that. Imagine a famous composer writing a piece of music especially for you. And then you perform it at such an important venue.
It was quite a spectacle. Marina Piccinini played a flashing golden flute and wore an incredible, sculptural, flashing golden dress. She was like a streak of lightning. She plays the flute using her whole body, like a dancer. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was other-worldly.
Anyway, about the music. My actual favourite piece this evening was The Light by Philip Glass, because who doesn’t like Philip Glass. I’ve obviously heard recordings of his works many times but that was the first time I’ve heard his music played live by a 90-piece orchestra with 8 double basses, countless violins, kettle drums, more flutes and just about everything you can think of. Here it is.
Philip Glass: The Light (1987)