Perfect Pitch with Nick Hely-Hutchinson – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show – 26 July 2020 by 107 Meridian FM | Mixcloud

Yesterday’s show attached below!

Listen to Perfect Pitch with Nick Hely-Hutchinson – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show – 26 July 2020 by 107 Meridian FM for free. Follow 107 Meridian FM to never miss another show.
— Read on m.mixcloud.com/MeridianFM/perfect-pitch-with-nick-hely-hutchinson-107-meridian-fms-classical-music-show-26-july-2020/

Perfect Pitch – 19 July 2020 – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show by 107 Meridian FM | Mixcloud

Last Sunday’s programme for your edification!

Listen to Perfect Pitch – 19 July 2020 – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show by 107 Meridian FM for free. Follow 107 Meridian FM to never miss another show.
— Read on m.mixcloud.com/MeridianFM/perfect-pitch-19-july-2020-107-meridian-fms-classical-music-show/

Perfect Pitch – 12 July 2020 – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show by 107 Meridian FM | Mixcloud

Last Sunday’s program. I hope you enjoy it.

Listen to Perfect Pitch – 12 July 2020 – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show by 107 Meridian FM for free. Follow 107 Meridian FM to never miss another show.
— Read on m.mixcloud.com/MeridianFM/perfect-pitch-12-july-2020-107-meridian-fms-classical-music-show/

Perfect Pitch – 5 July 2020 – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show by 107 Meridian FM | Mixcloud

Humble apologies if you’ve tried to access the link unsuccessfully. My fault entirely – here it is, and thank you for your patience!

Listen to Perfect Pitch – 5 July 2020 – 107 Meridian FM’s Classical Music Show by 107 Meridian FM for free. Follow 107 Meridian FM to never miss another show.
— Read on m.mixcloud.com/MeridianFM/perfect-pitch-5-july-2020-107-meridian-fms-classical-music-show/

Radio Sow

http://www.meridianfm.com/

Dear Friends and followers everywhere,

I am sorry that I have not been posting recently, but the reason for this is that I have started a radio program, which is broadcast on Sundays at 10.00 am UK time.

I would love it if you were able to join me wherever you are. I’ve attached the link above; and all you need to do is to press listen live at the top of the page when you get to the site.

Please do try and join me if you can! Thank you, Nick.

Perfect Pitch – 22/06/2020 – 107 Meridian FM by 107 Meridian FM | Mixcloud

Dear Friends and followers,

For those of you unable to pick up my programme, here it is without any interruptions. I hope you enjoy it.

Listen to Perfect Pitch – 22/06/2020 – 107 Meridian FM by 107 Meridian FM for free. Follow 107 Meridian FM to never miss another show.
— Read on m.mixcloud.com/MeridianFM/perfect-pitch-22062020-107-meridian-fm/

“Perfect Pitch” – 14/06/2020 – 107 Meridian FM by 107 Meridian FM | Mixcloud

Hello friends and followers. This is the reason manuscriptnotes.com has been a bit quiet of late!

Here is my first stab at a radio show. Back again on Sunday 10am, do join me if you can, Nick.

Listen to “Perfect Pitch” – 14/06/2020 – 107 Meridian FM by 107 Meridian FM for free. Follow 107 Meridian FM to never miss another show.
— Read on m.mixcloud.com/MeridianFM/pitch-perfect-14062020-107-meridian-fm/

Loss and protest with Maxwell-Davies

I have no credible excuses for recent radio silence. It’s amazing how idle you can become when you’ve got so much time on your hands. Doing not very much, it turns out, passes the time extraordinarily quickly.

Yes, I’ve read a lot more, including committing to memory a number of famous poems, (good medicine for the little grey cells) and listened to more music. But I haven’t learnt Mandarin, nor written a book. Just haven’t had the time, you see.

It is high time, however, that I shared some music with you, and my choice today is the very simplest of tunes, but one, if you if you sink into it, you will also find to be  profound, comforting, as well as being peculiarly apt in the current environment.

If you aren’t familiar with the music of the British composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016), this site is unlikely to alter that state of affairs after today: that’s because Farewell to Stromness, an interlude from The Yellow Cake Revue, is quite unlike any of his other music, much of it angry and dissonant, and almost all of it multi-styled.

‘Max’, as he was known to his friends, was a prolific composer and acclaimed conductor. He was a republican, but changed his views on the monarchy after being made Master of the Queen’s Music for ten years. He was also an environmentalist, and it is in this context that this piece needs to be taken.

Stromness is the second largest town in Orkney, where Maxwell-Davies had a home. The Yellow Cake Revue is a collection of cabaret-style pieces in protest to plans for a uranium ore mine: Stromness was just a couple of miles away, and would have been the most affected by pollution if the plans had gone ahead.

The piece was written originally for piano, but its transcription to guitar was an inspiration. There are several recordings, but I have deliberately selected the score so that you can just listen without visual distractions. We are told that the underlying pace is supposed to be representative of the villagers walking away from their contaminated homes.

And so ultimately it is a brief piece about loss and protest: a metaphor, you might think, for the global climate forty years after its first performance in 1980. But it is extraordinary how all that can be conveyed with such simplicity.

Click on the image –

 

 

Mahler – for comfort and hope

Hello.

There has been more than enough pontificating about the state of the world which we currently inhabit, so you will be relieved to know that I am not about to bore you with my own opinions, be they political or amateur philosophical.

There’s always a ‘but’, though, isn’t there? ‘But’ mine is a very simple one. Who among us, over these last several weeks, has not spent more time in thought – whether reminiscing on times and loved ones of bygone days, or in contemplation, perhaps particularly, about the youth of today and their futures, whose lives have twice been put on hold; first by prolonged wranglings over Brexit, and now by COVID-19?

I know I have. This is where music can step in and show us its real worth. One of its functions, as Thomas Beecham once said, ‘is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought.’ A few minutes a day (in my case, many) can provide unrivalled solace and a welcome escape from our wandering minds.

In Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, The Resurrection, first performed in 1895, the composer is expressing in music his belief in an afterlife and resurrection. It matters nothing whether or not you share his belief, that is not the point: today I bring you two clips which seem to encapsulate neatly the two reassurances we seek now above all others – comfort and hope.

The second movement, here in full, is a reflection of happier times in the life of the deceased, whose funeral is depicted in the dramatic first. It is delicate and simple; and with a gorgeous tune to boot! It is supremely comforting music, clothed in tenderness, but also has a strong sense of pining and nostalgia. Listen to the way Mahler mingles two melodies between violins and ‘cellos, it’s utterly enchanting. Click on the image –

 

 

And now from comfort to hope: the closing few minutes of the piece. You could scarcely believe this comes from the same symphony. Mahler was determined to have a choir for the final movement, but was more than conscious of having to live up to the success of Beethoven’s 9th just under seventy years before. The words are from Friedrich Klopstock’s poem, The Resurrection, “Rise again, yes, you shall rise again”.

Not that you need to know that, for there have been few passages in all music that effuse such optimism. Conductor Simon Rattle looks to be on the point of an internal combustion. Your belief doesn’t matter. This big, this huge, sound is all about hope and love. Shut the door and turn it up. Your spirits will be raised to unexpected heights.

Click on the image –

 

 

 

 

A trilogy of light relief

We are engulfed daily by unfathomable sadness, anxiety, and uncertainty. Our way of life has been changed beyond recognition and things will never be quite the same again. Every news bulletin is dominated by one story alone; and so, for the moment, I am avoiding the BBC at 10pm.

Openly appreciating what you have is not unawkard, because it risks appearing insensitive to those less fortunate. I’m not even talking about this at a material level: no one living alone without access to the outside is going to take kindly to being encouraged to marvel at the beauty of spring.

But that, as I write, is precisely what occupies me at present. We tread this earth but once: who of us has ever witnessed an April when the air has been so clean; the sky so blue; the green on the trees so vibrant; the birdsong so shrill? And yet – was ever T.S.Eliot’s line ‘April is the cruellest month’ truer than it is now?

Cruel for exposing us to two polar extremes: nature at its unpolluted best… alongside a silence – a silence which one moment we may welcome in its reawakening of our awareness; but eerie, the next, too. Wonder and fear rolled into one.

I think we need some light relief. Of the many barriers to an appreciation of classical music, some of the terminology used for describing how the composer would like the music played, almost always denoted in Italian, is undoubtedly a bit of a turn-off. Fortissimo, presto, piano, allegro ma non troppo, andante, etc, all sound pretentious to the newcomer, but it is simply part of the established language. Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore give their own lighthearted explanation of it here, click on the image –

Those of a certain age may never have seen, much less used, a contraption called a typewriter. It’s what we used before computers. Here’s a demonstration of how it works, set to music by Leroy Anderson. That bell you hear is your reminder that you need to shunt the bar to start the next line. No backspacing or spelcheck: if you made a mistayke, you had to start again or get out some whitener and type over it. Imaginn having to do that the hole time. Click on image, for the second slice –

Just in case you’re thinking that self-isolation has got the better of me, I must now return to the brief. By a remarkable coincidence, BBC Radio 3 is currently playing the very piece for today’s post, Dvorak’s 8th Symphony, and, specifically here, the third movement, marked Allegretto grazioso. Allegretto is one of those less useful markings, meaning moderately quick, leaving lots of room for interpretation. But grazioso is an important steer, because without it, you may not enjoy the intended mood.

There are some I know who diss Dvorak’s music as lightweight – my father called it pop music! We agreed on most things, but good tunes don’t make it kitsch. And this is a good tune, underlined by a gracious flow, making it fresh and uplifting. Don’t be put off by the length, it doesn’t go on for 10 minutes, just over 6 – whoever was doing the recording must have been distracted for a few minutes before realising it had finished.

I chose this particular recording as it is conducted by the late Jiri Belohlavek, a Czech maestro whose nationality, you might reasonably infer, adds a certain authenticity to his reading of the piece. Anyway, I love it; so click here to find out why –