PG's Tips for Survival at the RHN


Sidney was tickled pink that he was going to meet Albert. At last, he was to hear 'live' music - not just that stuff they churn out on the wireless (he was old-fashioned, was our Sidney).

He was aware that classical music wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but he was going to enjoy himself anyway. Sidney hadn't been to the Albert Hall for ages, and was looking forward to it.

He still became excited by the sound of the orchestra arriving, and the cacophony as the different instruments played individually. Then the oboe played its solitary note to which all the other instruments tuned. Now a further hush fell upon that huge auditorium as we waited for the leader of the orchestra (the principal violinist). He arrived - to the applause from those who could clap - followed by the conductor.

Then there was a quiet of expectancy that filled 'Albert', at which Sidney was on the edge of his wheelchair (metaphorically speaking). This was broken by the familiar opening notes - Da da da DAA - the V for Victory beginning of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

Sidney listened intently to every note, and watched in an envious way the excellence of the instrumentalists. He especially noticed the flutes and the timpani (the kettle drums). He had, in bygone days, played both. The school orchestra had been his introduction to the world of classical music, by playing percussion - that is, everything from the triangle to the timpani.

The interval brought a delicious break in the form of a tub of ice cream, which Sidney devoured with relish. 'Ah! The simple pleasures of life are often missed when you become wheelchair-bound' he thought.

After the break came the moment Sidney had been waiting for. This was the climax to the whole evening,, for it was to be performed by that 'wild man' of the violin: Kennedy (as he calls himself; but previously known as Nigel K.) He got his reputation by playing anything from Hendrix to Vivaldi. But tonight he was playing Brahms' Violin Concerto.

Sidney was spellbound by his performance. It was absolutely fabulous, to coin a phrase. The evening was completed by a phenomenal encore which was a 'fast' piece by Bach.

Sidney left Albert vowing that 'we'll meet again some ...'

By Peter Gow.
August 1999

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