Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A sold out concert

Where is it? Who's playing? Who's conducting? How can I get tickets?

It's the Really Terrible Orchestra of Edinburgh, which none less than the venerated New York Times has picked up on here. The concert is part of the Edinburgh Festival (Fringe Division). The NY Times is coming down a bit in the world, first reporting on the Vilnius Opera House and now on this orchestra....

The RTO has been in operation for 7 or 8 years, and is not the first orchestra in the UK that makes a virtue out of playing badly. There was also the Scratch Orchestra (hmm, yes) and the Portsmouth Sinfonia which once, in the absence of the soloist, transposed the Tchaikovsky B flat minor piano concerto to A minor, seeing that 'sharps and flats unnerve us'. Seems perfectly reasonable.

The RTO is full of high achievers (in other areas of life) - Alexander McCall Smith is the principal bassoonist. Apparently there has been a rumour that they are getting better since some are having lessons with real teachers, but generally the verdict is that the potential ain't there. Every concert they do is sold out, and they get standing ovations for doing the last 40 bars of the 1812 overture since the rest is too difficult....

Very British, no? It's all about not taking yourself too seriously. Read the article. It's lovely!


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