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First Tuesday current affairs discussion - Tuesday 6 February 7:00pm start

Tuesday 6th Feb: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

We'll discuss a couple of topical issues in the news

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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester music reviews

Ian McCulloch

Echo and The Bunnymen at Liverpool Philharmonic

Reviewed by Jane Turner October 2011

Stop the Press: McCulloch the messiah incites mutiny!

 

Last night I witnessed a reluctant rebellion in the aisles of the Liverpool Philharmonic! The messiah McCulloch with tongue in cheek, rebelliously called on his followers to “fill that aisle” after an earlier comment that he had “never seen so many obedient people sitting down instead of standing up”. As the messiah spoke of “so many regulations that it is now impossible to make a Lancashire sausage” his followers were roused from their seats and took to dancing in the aisles with gusto – an activity not seen around here for years. Hundreds of happy people ignored the anxious gesticulating of the “chuckle brothers” as McCulloch had cheekily nicknamed the “bouncers”, and the people were at last back in their rightful place, on the land that was rightfully theirs and dancing in the aisles instead of wiggling politely from in or behind their seats. In an appeal to the “chuckle brothers” McCulloch declared “these are our people, they’re not doing anything wrong” and with that the party really got started; Echo and The Bunnymen were back in town!

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Manchester music reviews

Ramsbottom Festival

Ramsbottom Festival at the Cricket Club

Reviewed by Helen Nugent September 2011

 

In a country where there are more music festivals than you can shake a stick at, is it folly to launch a new one? The organisers of the new Ramsbottom Festival didn’t think so. And judging by the weekend’s entertainment this boutique event deserves a permanent place in the summer festival fixture list.

 

Before a musician had played a note, the Ramsbottom Festival looked like a promising bet. Who could fail to love a festival which, in addition to a main arena, had a second performance area entitled ‘T’Other Stage’? Added to this was a Beer Tent serving locally-brewed delights (including the fragrantly-floral Ramsbottom Festival Ale) and a range of mouth-watering treats in the Food Village. Kids were also well-catered for in this family-friendly town nestled in the shadow of the West Pennines.

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Manchester music reviews

Stefano Bollani

Gorgeous Gershwin

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Stefano Bollani piano and Clark Rundell conductor

by Denis Joe July 2011

at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

 

Overture, Strike up the band!
Gershwin Songs
Piano Improvisation
Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture
Rhapsody in Blue

 

Higuchi: “If only the whole world would listen to Gershwin”
[Wild Life –Shinji Aoyama]

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Manchester music reviews

Lang Lang

Lang Lang

at The Bridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Charlotte Starkey May 2011

 

One sensed that something significant was about to happen at the Bridgewater on Friday, 27th May. Urgent pressing crowds, clutching the tickets no doubt purchased many months previously, moved relentlessly towards the Bridgewater. For once I felt worried for the bemused young revellers, hoping to be legless by midnight, dodging the concert-going aficionados sweeping forward. The Lang Lang phenomenon had hit Manchester. He was last in Manchester ten years ago with the Hallé. On Friday he went solo.

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Manchester music reviews

Kate Marsden - violin

Ensemble of St. Lukes

by Denis Joe May 2011

at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

 

Alexander Marks violin
Kate Marsden violin
Robert Shepley viola
Gethyn Jones cello


Haydn: String Quartet No.4 in D Major, Op.20
Beethoven: String Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18

 

One of the best indicators of a music society’s success is the amount of offshoots that arise from it. The Liverpool Philharmonic Society has had quite a few, but it's not the quantity but the quality of the offspring that matters.

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Manchester music reviews

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

by Denis Joe

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's 2011/12 Season

As with other art organisations, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic faces cuts to its funding from the Arts Council and the local authority. The cuts could amount to nearly half-a-million pounds in the 2011/12 season. Yet at the launch of the new season there was no gloom and doom - Chief executive, Michael Ekin, seemed upbeat about the future of the Philharmonic.

 

And well he might. Under the baton of Vasily Petrenko the RLPO has gone from strength to strength. Initially, when the orchestra became the NW Orchestra of Classic FM, I thought that programmes would become less adventurous. That has proven not to be the case and the RLPO have continued to bring lesser known operas and new music, such as the recent St John Passion by James MacMillan, to Liverpool.

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Manchester music reviews

The Durutti Column, Bridgewater Hall

The Durutti Column presents Chronicle 

at The Bridgewater Hall

Reviewed by Mark Iddon April 2011


The premiere performance of the forthcoming Durutti Column CD ‘Chronicle’ at the Bridgewater Hall in April, was to journey the emotional depths and potential heights of a band with an illustrious history spanning 3 decades performing in their home town.

 

Fans of The Durutti Column know not to expect polite melodic tunes, but an experimental array of free flowing layering of meandering interwoven sounds, ranging from delicate and restrained classical pieces to the energetic guitar of the anarchic leaning, but classically trained Vini Reilly, overlaid with a complimentary arrangement of sampled sounds. Their music self consciously sets out to challenge traditional music structures.

 

The Durutti Column have previously performed (in 2004) at the Bridgewater Hall, which is a wonderful venue and more usually the home of the Hallé Orchestra. The Bridgewater Hall (who commissioned this performance), has a distinguished entrance on Lower Mosley Street, a grand foyer and civilised, if a little stark, bar area overlooking the canal basin. It has a grand auditorium with stalls area and 3 balcony levels and great attention to the design of the building in order to maximise the acoustic performance of the space. Covers dressed the front of the balconies, presumably to compensate for the heavier sound of The Durutti Column from the traditional instruments of the Hallé Orchestra.

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Manchester music reviews

Jheronimus Bosch - The Carrying of The Cross

James Macmillan - St John Passion  

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Reviewed by Denis Joe April 2011


Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Conductor: James MacMillan)
Christopher Maltman Baritone
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir (Chorus master: Ian Tracey)
Colla Voce Singers (Director: Lee Ward)

 

Walking past the Catholic Cathedral on my way to the Philharmonic Hall, the bells were ringing out for the Easter week; an appropriate time to give a concert of St John Passion at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

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Manchester music reviews

Fusion

Fusion Wind Quintet, Lunchtime Concert

Reviewed by Denis Joe April 2011

at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Fusion was formed by members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the spring of 2002 for a series of quintet and trio concerts in Liverpool, Preston, Derby and Caldy. Since then it has performed regularly at Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool to great acclaim: "They demonstrated a beautifully rounded, sophisticated sound" Glyn Môn Hughes, Liverpool Daily Post. They also perform regularly at venues throughout the North West and, as well as giving concerts, are very committed to education work. The name Fusion signifies the coming together and blending of the very diverse sounds of the wind section of the orchestra.

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Manchester music reviews

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

by Denis Joe April 2011


One of the great things about living in the North West of the Britain is the proximity of two of the finest musical organisations in the country. For a long time it was thought that Manchester’s Hallé was the oldest orchestra in Britain, but that honour belongs to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

 

In 1853, the Philharmonic orchestra was formed for "the pleasure of the moneyed merchant class“ of Liverpool, subsequently attracting some of the greatest artists the musical world has had to offer. Guest conductors have included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, George Szell, Serge Koussevitzky, and Bruno Walter, the two latter being the greatest champions of contemporary music, including the likes of Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Alban Berg and Schönberg. Guest instrumentalists included Pablo Casals and a young Yehudi Menuhin. Guest singers included Nellie melba, Clara Butt and John McCormick.

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