The Eaton Diary of London    2001  

Christmas Concerts

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There was so much to choose from, but these are the Christmas concerts I enjoyed: 

Thursday, December 6, 2001

Dr John Scott, Organ,  Royal Festival Hall.

Messiaen's La Naiveté du Seigneur.

Saturday, December 8, 2001

All Soul's Orchestra, Christmas Praise,  Westminster Central Hall.

Programme included 'Rumours of Angels' by Graham Kendrick, who was a special guest for the performance.

Monday, December 10, 2001

King' singers,  Royal Festival Hall.

Thoroughly entertaining.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

South African Gospel Singers,  Royal Festival Hall.

Lively, energetic performance, and colourful presentation. Exciting rhythms and clever improvisations, but I found myself longing for something more three chords for harmonic variety by the end of the night.

But I was reminded of the lecture we had back at Adelaide University in the '70's, by a visiting African musician. While demonstrating his dazzling rhythmic skill and drumming techniques to our class of conservative classical musicians, he told us of his London experience as a student here some years before. He arrived in London shortly before Christmas and his first introduction to western music was going carol singing with some other students. He couldn't believe the inane rhythmic structure of carols like "Good King Wenceslas."  He played his impression of the Carol on his drum with simple straight even beats - rather dull. To an African, the beauty of music is primarily found in its rhythm - quite unlike a Carol which relies on its harmony for its beauty. So tonight, I was reminded to appreciate the beauty of performers' rhythms, and not try to impose my Western ears' longing for harmonic interest on their music.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

The Choir of King's College Cambridge Choir,  Royal Albert Hall.

Exquisitely beautiful concert. 

Thursday, December 20, 2001

London Community Gospel Choir,  Royal Albert Hall.

A brilliant opening, with a young girl (11 or 12) walking through the audience in candle light, singing 'Away in a Manger' unaccompanied. 

Then followed another lively, and energetic performance, and colourful presentation. I've never heard 'Silent Night' done quite like they did it - I think the Baby was well and truly awake by the end!


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