There's a debate at the Cambridge Union this evening on the motion 'classical music is irrelevant to young people'.
I don't have much time for musicals since I'm a musical snob. The ones I like are all American: Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Sweeny Tod, Chicago, and Adam's Ceiling/Sky.
Went to a performance of Guys and Dolls in Salisbury last night. A superb show, great production. I am astounded by the virtuosity of the cast of actor-musicians, who sang, danced, acted and played with absolute precision and tremendous energy. Please note, they played the score from memory: there aren't many professional musicians who could do that in an orchestra pit, let alone on stage. The only thing was they were rather too loud.
I was struck by the directness and simplicity of the music. It's composed without artifice, never over composed, no music for its own sake, the words always dominate. Hence, it's unpretentious and all the more charming because of that.
I can't help but express the release that rain is bringing to life here as I write this. It's a long way short of a monsoon feeling, but still and all it's early May - and it hasn't rained here for weeks. Enjoyable though the sunshine has been, a scorching Easter, it's all felt wrong: the ground has cracked hard, forest fires - at a time when we should have had April showers.
I know this will look silly in a few weeks when probably half the country will be under water.
Composer and musician