Friday, 17 April 2015

A-Z Day 17: Orchestra

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Never let the educational tone of Growing Greenpatches be doubted! Today's fragrant offering from the virtual pot-pourri comes courtesy of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with their rendition of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Not so fragrant are several of the viewers'  comments. My apologies - why some people use the anonymity of the internet to be so unpleasant I'll never know.

After that little diversion - back to Britten. If you've never heard this piece before, you might be slightly confused as to  the composer. The piece is arranged  round a theme of Purcell, but is composed by Benjamin Britten. I guess it's familiar to many people of my age group; pieces like that formed a backdrop to my childhood. Never had the chance to take part in that particular piece, although as a teenager, I did get to play the handbells in a production of his Noyes Fludde.

The percussion section in Young Person did make me smile as I listened just now; more specifically - the triangle player. It brought back memories of taking part in Derek Bourgeois' Pied Piper. It takes guts and concentration I can tell you; split-second timing and manual dexterity (which I, at age 12 or so, definitely did not possess!) Trying to stop the wretched thing twirl round on its twirly thing, reverberate when it shouldn't, and to actually hit it bang on cue, is an art, I feel. A second's hesitation and one's moment of glory is gone, never to be repeated. Fan's of Blackadder, the final series, will remember poor old Baldrick's orchestral efforts here. I feel for him, poor soul. 

Happy listening.


  1. I also enjoy Simon Rattle conducting this piece. You can find a version on YouTube where the orchestra are wearing colour-coded shirts to help identify the different families of instruments. Watch out for the left-handed ? Viola player, and the effect of the cymbals on the percussionist's hairstyle.

  2. Sounds good, Kirsten. I'll go and check it out once I've written tomorrow's blog entry. Your description of the orchestra conjures up Hoffnung-like scenarios in my imagination!


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