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Omen II

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  1. Omen II

    Michel Legrand concert in London

    What an amazing concert this was! When Michel Legrand shuffled out onto the stage at the beginning he looked every one of his 86 years, but he played the piano with the virtuosity of a genius half his age. A big screen above the stage showed clips from each of the films featured as the music was played, starting with a lengthy action sequence from Ice Station Zebra, a very bold and unusual way to begin the concert. Legrand either conducted or played the piano for every piece, Paul Bateman ably stepping up to conduct when the composer was tinkling the ivories. I do not know Michel Legrand's work as well as I should do, Gable and Lombard and Picasso Summer being two such examples from the first half - both were brilliant. The audience gave him an immediate standing ovation at the end of the concert, prompting him to return to the piano to play Brian's Song as an encore. The Tribute to Steve McQueen at the end was fantastic. The music he wrote for Le Mans is really too cool for school. 😎
  2. Omen II

    Michel Legrand concert in London

    Ice Station Zeborah! đŸ˜» P.S. Check out the grade listed Royal Festival Hall carpet.
  3. With this landmark occasion now only a few weeks away, it is remarkable that there have been so few details publicised to date apart from the fact that John Williams will be conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. We knew the programme and guest soloist for the Vienna Philharmonic concerts several weeks ago, but this lack of information in some ways makes it all the more exciting. Although I am lucky enough to have seen John Williams live before, the last time was as long ago as 1998 and I never thought when leaving the Barbican that evening that it would be twenty years before I would have the chance to see him again. When the concert was announced I was just overjoyed at the prospect of seeing my musical hero again, but as the concert date nears I too am starting to speculate about what lies in store. Here are a few random thoughts: No other conductor has been announced for this concert so far and it would be great if John Williams were able to conduct the whole thing himself. It is rare for him to do so these days but not unprecedented and I am obviously hoping he can do the whole thing. However, if there were another conductor to share conducting duties, who would it be? I guess the most likely candidates would be Richard Kaufman, Keith Lockhart, John Wilson or even Gustavo Dudamel or Simon Rattle. While cellist Johannes Moser has been announced for Vienna, there is no hint yet of any guest soloists for the LSO concert unless I have missed it. If there is to be a soloist, who would you like to see and playing which piece(s)? Following the recent sale of choir seats at the Royal Albert Hall I think it is unlikely that there will be a big screen for any of the selections, but again it is not unprecedented. I have sat in the choir previously for concerts where there are a couple of smaller screens facing the choir so that the audience in those areas can still see the visual element. Personally I am hoping for no big screen, although if Williams conducted one sequence live to picture I could certainly live with that. I would love to hear one of Williams's less widely performed celebratory pieces, for example Celebrate Discovery or Liberty Fanfare. As others have said, it would also be great to hear a mixture of classics such as Raiders March and less well known pieces. I am really hoping that Williams features the 'Voice of Jupiter', the magnificent 9,999 pipe Royal Albert Hall organ. When the RAH organ is played it is a unique experience to be in the audience. It is made for Gloria from Monsignor (especially with the LSO connection)... There is no mention of a choir so far but it would be brilliant if there was one. The fact that choir seats have been sold does not rule out there being a choir in the slightest. A very decent sized vocal ensemble can easily be accommodated towards the rear of the stage and this often happens at the Royal Albert Hall without the need to sacrifice any of the choir seats for Joe Public. Although I know he is not conducting them, I wonder if Williams might take the opportunity to attend either of the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban live to picture screenings earlier in the week, seeing as he will presumably be in town anyway. I guess we will know all this soon enough!
  4. Calling cards bearing the wording “Congratulations, you’ve just met the ICF (1941 Battalion)” will become a much sought after souvenir of his visit.
  5. The public entrances are numbered 1 to 12 (at least a couple of which - 10 and 11 - are currently out of use due to the Great Excavation) but there is also a Stage Door which is clearly signed; it is located between doors 12 and 1 on the southeast side of the building and you cannot really miss it if you walk round the perimeter. When I was at the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms last week, Prince Charles was also in attendance and was whisked away from there after the concert in a motorcade with police motorcyclists stopping the traffic on Kensington Gore. I wonder how long John Williams will be in London and where he might be staying (not that I intend pestering him even if I did know)? Traditionally I believe the biggest artists performing at the Royal Albert Hall often stay at the 5-star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington High Street, a ten minute walk away, but that’s complete guesswork on my part.
  6. Omen II

    The Classical Music Recommendation Thread

    I missed the Last Night of the Proms yesterday but have been catching up with it online. I am pleased to see that the BBC finally broadcast the whole of Hubert Parry's wonderful Jerusalem without feeling the need to cut to some windswept park in Glasgow or Belfast or wherever to 'link up' with some poor sods shivering under blankets while they watch it on a big screen. It is so much better in my opinion to show just the orchestra, choir and audience inside the Royal Albert Hall. By the way, anyone with gallery standing tickets for the John Williams concert will get a good idea of what to expect from about 1:15 onwards.
  7. You should be ok with Hyde Park as that closes at midnight all year round. Kensington Gardens is the one directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall on the west side of the Serpentine, but as long as you are in the park before the gates are locked you can still exit using one of several one-way turnstile gates at various points around the perimeter.
  8. Just in case you do not already know this Thor, Kensington Gardens closes at dusk throughout the year which on 26th October this year is at 6 p.m. However, it is still possible to walk / stagger back to the Lancaster Gate / Paddington area after the concert using Exhibition Road / West Carriage Drive, which is the road that separates Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park and is open all the time. I might be teaching granny to suck eggs here, but I wouldn't want any JW fans to be caught out and miss any of the concert. Incidentally, any Hook fans new to London might want to have a look at the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens. If I recall correctly it is featured at the end of the film when Robin Williams wakes up in the snow. It is about 10-15 minutes' walk from the Royal Albert Hall.
  9. The official Royal Albert Hall policy is: "Phones and recording devices including mobiles, tablets and cameras are distracting to other audience members. Please ensure they are switched off. Recording is strictly forbidden." However, I have found that the stewards at the Royal Albert Hall are usually fairly relaxed about the 'reasonable use' of compact cameras and smartphones to take photographs in the hall, for example before or after a piece has been played. I have taken plenty of photos at the Royal Albert Hall, some of which I have posted in various threads here, but have never done so during the performance itself. I think that if you were constantly taking photos or doing so while the music was being performed, you would be asked politely to desist. It is interesting to note that the Royal Albert Hall features its favourite photos taken by audience members each week on its @royalalberthall Instagram page. A photo I took at a recent Proms concert was featured a couple of weeks ago, which does not exactly discourage camera use in the hall despite the official line!
  10. The stage seats have the best view of the conductor and the orchestra in the whole of the Royal Albert Hall, but unfortunately they are not on sale to the public and you will have to be one of the musicians in the London Symphony Orchestra to be able to sit there. Seriously though it looks like you have fantastic seats in the choir. I had seat 106 in row 3 of the Choir West this evening for an utterly brilliant BBC Proms concert of music by Berlioz played by the Orchestre RĂ©volutionnaire et Romantique under Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the amazing view you can get from the choir seats in the Royal Albert Hall when it is full to the rafters.
  11. It does not have to be a contactless card issued in the UK. All American Express cards and most Mastercards and Maestro cards should work, although it does depend on the country of issue. This page from the Transport for London website has a lot of useful information about which contactless cards can be used for travel in London, whether issued in the UK or overseas.
  12. Yes Marian, I have both my Oyster card and my contactless debit card on the same TfL account.
  13. You are charged the same amount whether you use an Oyster card or a contactless card to pay for your journey, while the same daily capping rates also apply to both. If you register your contactless card you are able to check journey history on the website or app. Contactless cards also have weekly capping (which Oyster cards do not have currently, although TfL is working on it).
  14. You would not need to have registered the card (although it is useful to have an account at www.tfl.gov.uk as a convenient way of checking your journey history). If it is a recently issued card, you might need to make a contactless chip and pin payment first to ensure that the card works. I reckon that would be your best bet if you already have a contactless card.
  15. Yes, as long as it has the contactless symbol on it the card should work and will just deduct the correct fare for your journey.