Archive for October 9, 2016

Brexit – The downside of pulling up the drawbridge is that you’re trapped inside

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2016 by telescoper

As it happens, I went to school with the author of this piece and have had no contact with him for over thirty years. I agree wholeheartedly with what Jerry Hogg says, and am glad at least that these dark times have renewed an old acquaintance!

Progressivist News

It’s not a secret that I’m depressed about the Referendum result, nor that I’ve argued with countless Brexiteers before and after the vote about all the lies that were told, all the misconceptions and the many economic factors which will, at least in my opinion, become clear over the coming months and years.

But the single biggest reason I’m sad is not much discussed, yet in my view will have the biggest long term impact on Britain and our position in the world.

Freedom of movement allows all of us to move to live and work anywhere in the EU. I don’t believe anyone has truly grasped the implications of giving that right away, nor that in historical terms it will come to be seen as the most retrograde political decision taken voluntarily by a people for many years.

Just imagine if the German people had decided to undo the…

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The Hallé at St David’s

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by telescoper

On Friday evening I kept up the concert-going, this time at St David’s Hall in Cardiff (which I haven’t been to for far too long). This was the first in the new season of concerto that will run until next summer.

On the bill on Friday was the Hallé Orchestra from Manchester (which is in the Midlands) under the direction of Sir Mark Elder.

The first half of the concert featured two works, the symphonic poem The Golden Spinning Wheel by Antonín Dvorak and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with soloist Benjamin Grosvenor.

The Dvorak piece is full of energy and  colour and nice tunes, but I found it rather long for what it has to say. Still, it was a good workout with which to get the Hallé warmed up.

I’m not a huge fan of Liszt. I often find his compositions showily virtuosic but rather shallow. Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto is actually much less like that than I expected. Consisting of a single movement lasting just over 20 minutes, it certainly has its pyrotechnical passages, but the piano also takes a back seat too. It’s a very enjoyable work, dazzlingly played at this concert by youthful star soloist Benjamin Grosvenor.

The second half was devoted to a very well-known piece, Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (“The Pastoral”). It was, however, played in an unusual way that gave it a very fresh sound. Instead of having the basses and cellos in one block, Sir Mark Elder divided them into two groups either side of the stage, one with the first violins and one with the second violins. This simple device managed to create a much more solid  sound from the orchestra, as well as seeming to lower its centre of gravity, as it were. This heightened the impact of the excellent Hallé strings and gave the whole orchestra a rich sonority that perfectly suited the elemental power expressed by Beethoven’s composition.

A very enjoyable concert. Next one, in a couple of weeks, will be Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“The Resurrection”). I can’t wait for that!