Saturday, June 28, 2008

A night out with Declan Patrick (sometime Aloysius to honour Tony Hancock) MacManus (at the Phil)

Colin and I had a wonderful evening at the Liverpool Phil earliest this week in the company of Elvis Costello who I understand is soon to be given the award of Doctor of Music by Liverpool University.

He performed a fantastic concert.

I kept thinking about his father, Ross MacManus, a singer with the Joe Loss band. This was very much a big band sound. The RLPO accompanied him throughout, and extremely well.

I was particularly taken with the "Secret Songs" section which were essentially about the relationship that Hans Christian Andersen had with Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale.

Now just how far from my favourite Elvis album, This Year's Model, could we really get?

But I still loved it.

Perhaps I have grown older with him, as well as growing up with him? I am now old enough to appreciate songs like "She handed me a mirror" as much as I have always loved songs like "Lip Service" and "This Year's Girl".

My Uncle David, Professor "Joe" Millward, bought me that album in 1978 when I was a wee girl of 13. He is better known as the "Prof" in cartoon form on the sides of Innocent Smoothies, but for me he will always be the man who introduced me to Elvis Costello, whereas his first wife Annette, will always be the woman who introduced me to Monty Python.

I have always been fortunate, if not indeed downright lucky with my relatives!

The concert was magnificent and everyone around me enjoyed it immensely, but it was notable that many were middle-aged or elderly, more natural supporters of the RLPO rather than a young punk, but this week we all coalesced to experience opera, jazz and the blues along with our dose of rock n roll.

Thanks Declan!


steve faragher said...

I saw him at leeds university in 77 on the Stiff tour with wreckless eric ian drury and (nick lowe i think, I seem to remember talking to him, drukenly, (me not him).happy days.

Hilary Burrage said...

Delighted that you enjoyed the show so much, Louise. I gather from my Other Half, who is a member of the RLPO, that so did the Orchestra itself. They appreciate working with all kinds of music and musicians, if they're good (and Elvis C. certainly is!).

It would be really positive if events like this persuaded people that indeed you don't have to be 'middle aged' etc to appreciate classical music as well: many 'non-classical' professional musicians of note start with a classical training (think Elton John, just a year or two ahead of the Other Half at the Royal Academy of Music; or indeed Elvis C. himself) - and lots of young people enjoy performing in orchestras such as the HOTFOOT one, for Hope Street events.

Come to that, all the members of the RLPO will have started their instrumental studies very early on, most probably well before secondary school. (And by no means all of them come from privileged backgrounds...)

That's why work such as the Phil players do (with Government financial support) in local schools, in your patch and elsewhere, is so important.

If children and young people are not exposed to 'real live' music early on, they may well miss the opportunity to link in with it. The more we can all try different types of music, the better!