The Malvern Experience:Musical Diferences: The Magic Band

Last Saturday ((31 / 5 ) My Friend D. and I went to the Festival Theatre at Malvern, to see a concert given by The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. It primarily featured two works by Sir Edward Elgar; namely " Cockcaigne ( In London Town )" and  the  Second Symphony.

Amazingly although,  having the cheapest tickets, we sat level with musicians in the second row.

It was wonderful to be so close to the music. I love the way Elgar makes use of the entire orchestra tin his scores.  Everybody has a turn and it was noticeable how hardworking the woodwinds were during the four movements of the symphony.

Sir Edward always loved the Malvern Hills and drew much of his musical inspiration  as he walked the slopes. So it was, following the concert.  on the Sunday ( 1 / 6 ) D. and I re-acquainted ourselves with the Hills. Here are some photographic results:

Note the bank of Fox Gloves growing in profusion .

The day was warm and clear and it was a green and verdant scene that greeted us  at the summit, after a long climb up the track.

Technology can  make a difference and seated on a bench we had a video call with daughter L.  who lives  in the London provinces. It was a special moment as L. gazed at the backdrop of the Malverns, and  we shared a conversation together.

When I possibly can, I try to listen to the composer's music where the muse struck; so it was in 2007, equipped with iPod I stood on the Malverns and listened to Sir Edward's Cello Concerto.

In 1997,  staying at Iona,  an island in the Western Isles, for a week, D. and I were able to take a boat trip to Staffa, a island adorned with puffins. This small rocky outcrop contains "Fingal's Cave "

 It inspired Felix Mendelssohn to include this location  in his overture to " The Hebrides " and so armed with a Sony Walkman, using a tape cassette ( how times have changed ) I heard the 'Cave ' in the very place,  with real dripping sea-water as an accompaniment to the piece. A fond memory indeed.


Forward to Thursday ( 5 / 6  ) K. kindly drove me to the " Fleece "  club in Bristol to see my favourite rock band ' The Magic Band. " 

This five piece group from America freely interprets the music of the Late Captain Beefeart;  an iconic figure, who made pretty much his own musical rules.

That it is difficult to play, is an understatement; indeed many would say with its often different time signatures, it is  also tough to listen to.

But, in my opinion the best music has to be ' worked out ' rather than used as an aural wash.
The more you put in: the more you get out.

I have never heard the band play better. They really were at the top of their game.
They had a new drummer , Andrew Niven, who compared to the grizzly oldsters, looked a mere boy. He played with a real dash  and verve and  was so impressed that I complimented him upon his playing. He seemed suitably pleased.

 John ' Drumbo ' French, leader, vocalist, part percussion and saxophone seen here signing books, records, and autographs wherever required.

Now here's the thing. The group played two excellent sets and in between them, came down amongst their audience to talk , sign and generally ' chew the fat.' How refreshing; would that all bands could make themselves so available. Well done Gentlemen.

The legs get weaker; but inside the head, we're still rocking.


Further  good news, " Australia, " as predicted last week has just won the Derby. Make no mistake this is a proper horse and unlikely to taste defeat this season.
So, we have had the equine result;  it remains  now for June to show its true sunshine colours.


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