Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Friday, 10 November 2017

Desert Island Discs I

For those of you not totally familiar with the BBC Radio 4 Program, Desert Island Discs is a long standing interview program in which the guest is invited to choose the 8 records that they would want to retain with them if shipwrecked on a desert island.   The host and guest them chat around the chosen discs to illuminate interesting things about the guest.   There have been many interesting and famous guests, and quite a few equally interesting, but less famous ones.   My idea is to list my eight discs, and explain a little of why I have chosen them.   If I reveal something of myself in the process then so be it.

Camille Saint Saens
I must have first come across the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony about 1974 when I was playing with the Croydon Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.   First coming across a work like this as a rather confused, or at least conflicted adolescent meant that I was totally absorbed into all the romantic implications, the angst, victory, the glory and the despair.   For me this is the epitome of the romantic symphony, displaying everything that the form should.

It also brings many memories with it, not only of playing with the Youth Orchestra at Croydon's (currently closed) Fairfield Hall, but also with the London Charity Orchestra and the All Souls Orchestra at London's Albert Hall.   It is a virtuosi piece of orchestration and when the full power of the Albert Hall organ is unleashed the full impact really hits you.

If you don't know the piece listen here

Because it is so popular it can easily begin to feel a little hackneyed, but given the chance to listen to the whole thing rather than just extracts from the last movement it really does reward, and there will be a chance to do just that when my Orchestra the wonderful London Gay Symphony Orchestra perform this Symphony on the 8th July at St Giles's Cripplegate

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