At some point during 2009 I decided that I'd like to write a blog (or at least SOMETHING) about my experiences of the amateur orchestral scene in London. I had been cajoled into writing a blog for some time; for a start, my own mother is a constant champion of my supposed ability as a writer (if only to me and Mary, who she works with). Others had insisted that I write about my ever humourous escapades on the N91 bus service. However, soon after it was suggested that my attempts at getting home after a night out were worthy of written record, they stopped happening (for very good reason: the last time I fell asleep on the N91, this happened). The upshot of all this is, I' e actually sat down and written something. This almost never happens.
I suppose the music theme was inevitable. I was impressed with Rylan's blog
, even though he's now dreadful at updating it, not least because it introduced me to new music, some of which I even enjoyed! Rylan always said "Dude, just find something you want to write about".
He always was a valuable source of practical input.
To be fair, it did get me thinking. It occurred to me that no-one writes about the amateur music scene. Amateur performances are very rarely reviewed in the papers, for instance. I suppose Joe Public, the fickle beast, doesn't give two hoots whether a solicitor from Surrey had a great command of the horn obbligato in Mahler 5. But think – isn't something like that more remarkable than a professional horn player, with 30 years training and professional experience behind him, trotting out the same part he was reading from an excerpt book at the age of 15?
Amateur music is, in some ways, music-making for the purist (though it is a fair argument that the best-loved classical music of today was, in more cases than not, written at the behest of 'the establishment', however you choose to define such). Amateur orchestras and brass bands and wind quartets an choirs and trombone octets and whatever combinations one cares to think of come together to make music for the sheer pleasure of doing so. Of course, sometimes there isn't much pleasure involved, and sometimes it's not exactly 'amateur' in the truest sense of the word. I can comfortably guarantee that I will have reason to elaborate on these points over the coming year!
I'd like to do this once a week – so if you know me and are reading this, you are charged with prompting me. Let's just hope it's interesting!
First instalment tomorrow, I think.