I went to The Bridgewater Hall for the first time to hear The Planets, Gustav Holst. It was really fascinating, and being a poet I started poem-scribbling, Mercury was a good one to write to!
The chattering Mercury feet
tip toe among the violas
he throws his heart to the violins
and they pluck at its fullness.
The conductor Van Pascal Tortelier was really great to watch, especially in the angry Mars piece. I started trying to describe his movements, and came up with this list:
One minute a puppet-master
A man catching butterflies
Pumping a tire
Winding a clock
Squashing a fly with a downward thwack
Gesturing at a small child
Strenuously marching up stairs
Delicately tapping nails into a wall
Painting a sun on a large canvas
Opening a door to a loved face
Catching a chair before it falls.
I could probably have kept going, the variety of images he was painting with his arms, with his whole body, just kept extending. I’m glad I went with Lynn, who knows an orchestra’s layout, as that helped me comprehend what was happening better. Lynn’s favourite piece is the violin concerto, by Sibelius. It was quite moving to listen to, and left me with odd pictures,
A lone trumpet wails
I see my grandfather
in his fresh-furnished flat.
the double bass murmur,
a sledge of water crashes, coating
the rocks my mind has planted
following the harps roaming hands.
Maybe I watched Fantasia too many times as a kid…