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Bebop Spoken There

Camila Meza: "Some tonalities or chords are colors to me: G major is blue, D major is orange and B minor is totally yellow." - (DownBeat July 2019)

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Today Sunday June 16

Birthday wishes to Steve H.

Afternoon

Jazz

Vieux Carré Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Free.

Musicians Unlimited - Park Inn, Park Road, Hartlepool TS26 9HU. Tel: 01429 233126. 1:00pm (doors 12 noon). Free.

Alice Grace & Ben Helm - Bonbar, Fenkle St., Newcastle NE1 5XU. Tel: 0191 232 8695. 1:30pm.

Jazz Social - Charts, Quayside, Newcastle NE1 3DX. Tel: 0191 338 7989. 4:00pm. Free.

Blues/Funk/Soul

The Panthers - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 3:00pm. Free.

Sour Mash Trio - The Schooner, South Shore Road, Gateshead NE8 3AF. 5:00pm. Free.

Evening

Customs House Big Band - Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields NE33 1ES. Tel: 0191 454 1234. 6:00pm. £13.00. ‘Swing on a Summer’s Evening’. The band’s 20th anniversary concert.

East Coast Jazz Jam - The Exchange, Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1SE. Tel: 0191 258 4111. 6:00pm. Free.

Gerry Richardson Quartet - The Globe, Railway Street, Newcastle NE4 7AD. 7:30pm. £6.00. ( (£3.00. student).

DU Jazz Soc jam session - Fabio’s Bar, Saddler St, Durham DH13NP. Tel: 0191 383 9290. 7:30pm. Free.

Francis Tulip Quartet - Black Bull, Bridge Street, Blaydon NE21 4JJ. Tel: 0191 414 2846. 7:30pm. £7.00. Line-up: Francis Tulip (guitar); Ben Lawrence (piano); John Pope (bass); Matt MacKellar (drums)

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mahler, Schoenberg and Finzi by Durham University Orchestral Society @ Durham Cathedral, June 17

(Review by Steve T)
To misquote a famous John, 'before Schoenberg there was nothing'. Just like before Elvis there were men, they just didn't have moving legs, there was music before Schoenberg, it was just the nice, pretty, fluffy type aimed at posh, rich men to conduct along to.
Schoenberg is the composer most associated with atonality, who deliberately set out to make difficult music to challenge the listener, which didn't comply with rules laid down by Bach and Handel and the moon and stars before them. Like the best Jazz, and his peers and followers were influenced by Jazz artists who were in turn influenced by them.
Robert Wyatt, original drummer with prog/jazz/rock band Soft Machine drew a line from Schoenberg, through Cecil Taylor to punk rock so he must have missed the point of Schoenberg and Free Jazz. I know he didn't miss the point of punk rock because there wasn't one; while they were perhaps too clever for their own good, punk rock just wasn't clever at all.  

Part one was the Chamber Orchestra which began with a short, pointless piece by British composer Finzi called Romance. This was followed by Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony no 2 which was written before his conversion but the second movement was significantly re-written after it, so it offered a contrast between early Schoenberg and the later crazy stuff, though, to these untrained ears, it was all pretty crazy.
Part two was the main event with the Symphony Orchestra playing Mahler’s Symphony no 1. Ironically, or maybe not, Mahler is thought to be the first composer to experiment in atonality, but died the following year.
Less cynically and more seriously, much pre C20th tonal classical music is difficult to contemporary ears trained to expect a verse and a chorus, and this was no exception, though long passages were interspersed with moments of real beauty and nothing quite sounds like massed violins, the juxtaposition of  plaissure and jouissance proving irresistible,  and Stravinsky, Miles with Gil, and Zappa were masters of this. 
It sounds idyllic: a lovely evening cooling down after the hottest day of the year so far, a building some consider the finest on planet earth, my loudest, brightest shirt and some of the poshest, cleverest, richest, most successful, most promising and most pretentious people anywhere. In real time, once you've admired the splendid building, watched the few fiddlers elbows you can actually see, it gets boring and, while I'd have stayed, I'm more used to this type of stuff than my way better half and we'd agreed five minutes of Mahler, so the opening movement and five minutes of the second seemed fair enough. 

Steve T.

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