Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A week of prog part 1 - Concerto For Group and Orchestra

Last week was rather interesting. On Monday (5th October) I went to see Jon Lord (fomerly of Deep Purple) performing his Concerto for Group and Orchestra at the Usher Hall. JL was on his Hammond organ, the orchestra was made up of students from the RSAMD (almost all first-years), and the band was Concertium, who are from Stevenson College where my wife teaches. Hilary was involved in some of the organising and met Jon Lord on one of his earlier planning visits to Edinburgh. The conductor was Paul Mann, who apparently does this piece with Jon Lord a lot.

The performance was outstanding. Concertium betrayed no hint of "student band" nerves or noodling: special praise goes to their singer Grant Barclay, guitarists Grant Kilpatrick and esecially Thomas Temple whose solos were unfussy and inventive, and most of all to their drummer Oscar Mannoni. During his solo I saw violinists in the orchestra sitting in open-mouther wonder, and they weren't alone. Even Jon Lord looked impressed. The majority of the orchestra were taking part in their first performance as music students, but no inexperience showed there either. As Jon Lord said at the end, listening to the guys on stage you know the future of British music is in safe hands.

JL himself looks older but sounds much the same as in Deep Purple's heyday. To hear the opening of the encore "Child In Time" - surely the second-best-known organ intro in rock history* - was to be transported back to my schooldays, lying stoned at a party listening to "Deep Purple In Rock". His Hammond organ is massive by comparison with modern keyboards, but makes a great sound so I can see why he still uses it. It has a minder who not only tends it but fends off finger-poking passers-by, and who never leaves its side. He was even sitting quietly behind Jon Lord in the concert. Someone described him as Jon Lord's monkey, but surely he has to be the organ-minder?

Support was by a combined folk group of accordions and fiddles from Stevenson COllege and the RSAMD, led by the ubiquitous Phil Cunningham. All in all, a terrific gig, and a fantastic experience for all the sstudents involved.


* After "A White Shade Of Pale", obv.

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