Sunday, 4 March 2012

Collecting memories: music for posterity

The outside of the building was bathed in icy blue light, perhaps in deference to the subject of the evening’s entertainment? I found myself thinking of the film, The Artist, as I sat silently in the auditorium at the Cadogan Hall last night. But this was a very different experience - in fact, it was almost the total opposite of watching a silent movie.

Whilst it is possible to get totally lost in music, classical concerts remain rather two dimensional – there’s just the sound we hear (though I suppose this could be described as a multidimensional realm in itself), and the musicians sitting on the stage, playing their instruments. But this concert, performed by the City of London Sinfonia, in association with the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), also incorporated photography and the spoken word - along with a small display of artefacts from the SPRI Museum, which were hidden away in one corner of the concert hall foyer.

Hugh Bonneville, of Downton Abbey fame, was the narrator in the first piece - Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Scott of the Antarctic. The readings were from Captain Scott’s Last Expedition, Volume One (of which I just happen to own a copy - and from which these images are taken).

Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No 7, Symphonia Antarctica, was accompanied by photographs of the expedition by Herbert Ponting - historical treasures in their own right.

And the concert also included the first airing of a new work by Cecilia McDowell: Seventy Degrees Below Zero was specially commissioned as part of the Scott 100 series of events.

Oh, and did you know that Scott and his companions found the first breeding emperor penguin colony? A proud mother with her offspring can be seen left.

Did you also know that it’s Mother’s Day on 18th March? So if you’re looking for something curiously collectable like these books, do check out the selection of unusual gifts at ShopCurious...

Will you?


worm said...

I was going to use RVW's Symphonia Antarctica on a recent dabbler post I did about music for cold weather! I love all things antarctic

Jan said...

Interesting combination for a night out.
No, I didn't know about the penguins - which I might add (since Christmas) I now associate with the film 'Happy Feet'.
Not such a bad thing?

Profoundly Superficial said...

A wonderful story!

Style Porn said...

I have to admit, as an avid ballet goer since a young age, I've always felt the symphony was lacking something...visual. After all, the ballet is also a symphony but with fantastic, elegant, exciting dancers to look at! I could get into this whole idea of symphony + spoken word/photography though. The music could really heighten the experience of seeing everything.