Tag Archives: Concert Band

New concert diary now online

Looking at the new concert diary over the next four months, I think it’s fair to say this is one of the busiest I’ve seen here at the University.

Big bandEvents kick off in a few week’s time with the award-winning St James Quintet opening the Lunchtime Concert series for the term with an eclectic programme for wind quintet. February begins with a bang as the Concert and Big Bands storm back to the Gulbenkian in ‘Nice ‘n’ Easy,’ with a selection including classic Duke Ellington and pieces fromWicked, to name but a few; the Chamber Choir will take you on an evocative journey ‘From Morn to Midnight‘ in the intimacy of Canterbury Cathedral Crypt towards the end of the month.

March promises to be an epic month; there’s the glory of the Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert as the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra unite in Haydn’s Creation; student and staff musicians in Jazz @ 5; the exciting prospect of Korngold’s lyrical second string quartet with the Brodskys; exoticism from the Bamboo and Silk Ensemble; not one – not two – but three bands as the Concert and Big Bands team up with St. Edmund’s School for Big Bands3, before the term finishes with a valedictory lunchtime concert at St Peter’s Church in Canterbury from the newly-founded University Mistral Ensemble and the Chamber Choir.


Click here to view online, and get the dates in your diaries now, or download a copy of the brochure as a PDF. Something for everyone…

A busy week ahead…

It’s still a ridiculously busy time for music at the University as the last three weeks of term draw on: Wednesday sees the Concert and Big Bands teaming up with St. Edmund’s School Big Band in a charity event, as they support the Lady Mayoress’ Charities this year, as written about in the previous post: additionally, on Friday, the University Cecilian Choir and Brass Ensemble perform ‘The Grand Tour,’ a sequence of music and readings celebrating the cultural odyssey around Europe, at St. Paul’s Church, Canterbury; the concert is in aid of St. Paul’s organ restoration fund (as blogged about on the choral blog, Cantus Firmus, here).

Further details about both events in the on-line calendar here.

And then there’s four events next week: more details to come… Keep up!

Clash of the Titans: Big Bands 3!

Brace yourselves: next week, not one, not two, but THREE bands collide (musically speaking!), as the University’s Concert and Big Bands team up with St. Edmund’s School Big Band for Big Bands 3.

The event is in aid of The Lady Mayoress’ charities, and promises to be a lively event. The first of its kind, conductor Ian Swatman is looking forward to the event (when he can tear himself away from following the fortunes of Hull City, that is…!)

“It’s going to be a great night, and a chance for University staff and students and some of the pupils of St. Edmund’s School to play together,” Ian remarks as he ponders The Tigers’ current form, currently in ninth position in the table, having won two out of their past three matches.  ”Plus it’s all in support of a worthy cause, and all for a mere five pounds: great music, great players, and a great cause: who can resist ?!”

Kicking off at 7.30pm in St. Edmund’s School Hall, it’ll be an action-packed night: tickets are selling fast, make sure you get yours! Further details on-line here.

See you there!

Emotion on tap: the appeal of film music.

Whilst listening to the University Concert Band performing a suite from the score to the film Gladiator at a recent concert, I was struck anew by the allure that film music has for me. On browsing through my array of CDs later on, I realised that a large part of my listening library is devoted to film scores, from the spooky Classicism of Hannibal to the robust menace of Gladiator and Jurassic Park, the ethereal mystery of Solaris or the innocent jollity of Amelie.

What is it about film music that appeals ? On reflection, I suspect it might be the immediacy of the emotion it conjures, the instant creation of a mood or effect. Unlike traditional classical music, film scores don’t rely on musical form and architecture in the same way as, say, a symphony or a piano sonata. Film music, at least non-diagetic film music, is used because a director wants to enhance the emotion of a particular scene, and the music has to respond immediately. There is no room for traditional forms such as sonata form – exposition, development, recapitulation – which is all about presenting ideas, developing them, setting up tonal or harmonic relationships, and then providing a resolution in a coda. Think of the menace of the creeping semi-tone in Jaws, or the shrieking strings in Bernard Hermann’s music to Psycho: the effect is immediate.

Of course, diagetic music can do this as well: I’m thinking of that scene in Riidley Scott’s beautiful Hannibal, where the sound of the theme from Bach’s glorious Goldberg Variations seeps into the soundtrack, and the camera tracks across the room to reveal Lecter himself playing the piece as he muses on the letter he has just written to Starling. The piece is a favourite of Lecter’s, as we know from The Silence of the Lambs when he plays it on a tape-recorder in the prison-cage. The beauty of Bach’s melody stands in stark contrast to the environment in which it appears: Lecter’s private residence, or the cage-prison, and the figure of Lecter himself. (This video of Gould performing the Aria uncannily mirrors something of the tracking effect Scott uses in the film: I wonder if he’d seen it ?).

So what film music looms large in your library, and why ?

(Audio excerpts from preview tracks at LastFM).