From the Blog

New York, New York

New York, New York – Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Sage Gateshead

~ a guest blog by Mandy Charlton


New York, New York was a beautiful tribute to American music, mostly Gerswhin and then some Leonard Bernstein.  An orchestra on their own would have rocked this but with guest vocalists direct from the West End, it was a truly magical, memorable and wonderful event.

The first piece of classical music I can ever remember listening to was George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” it made me fall in love with classical music and to this day it is still my favourite piece, to hear it performed live by my favourite orchestra was a real treat, and something I will treasure forever.  I love the noisiness of it, I love the way it makes you feel like you are on a train journey, it’s quiet then loud and quiet then loud, a real treat for the ears and for anyone who’s not a classical music fan, it’s a piece you should give a go because it’s really quite modern.

I managed to take a friend to the performance who’d really never heard classical music performed live before and they didn’t know a lot of the programme but they loved it as much as I did.

The first half was mainly Gershwin based ending with the aforementioned Rhapsody in Blue, with the second half devoted to non-stop Bernstein and several numbers from “West Side Story”.  They were not only well performed but also deeply moving and well acted by the West End stars.

One piece of music I’d never heard before, The Candide Overture was quite my favourite piece of music I’ve heard for a long time, it comes from Bernstein’s failed operetta Candide and whilst the show might not have resonated with audiences at the time, the piece was jolly, upbeat, fast paced and a real joy to listen to.

I’ve always said if I could play in an orchestra I would play the Timpani, it always looks like the most fun out of everything, and having come from a school where I played tuned and untuned percussion in the orchestra I think I could read music well enough to learn to play, unfortunately I think the Timpani really isn’t an instrument you can bring out at parties or practice in your bedroom unless you live in a mansion so I’m happy to leave it to my beloved Royal Northern Sinfonia.  You will if you spot me at a concert, see that I’m always watching the percussion and the Timpani more than anything though and it’s one of the reasons that orchestra’s should be not only listened to but also watched.  The next performance is Best of Broadway and you can bet I’ll be there avidly watching the percussion section.


~ a guest blog by Mandy Charlton




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