There is an awful lot of snobbery in music, not least in its classification of classical, light orchestral and pop. Occasionally you read the the Beatles produced the classical music of our generation or that if Puccini or Verdi were composing nowadays they would be producing musicals. One orchestra that has traversed the class divide is John Wilson’s. They appear regularly at the Proms and John Wilson is a esteemed conductor of classical music.
His orchestra’s forte is nonetheless the melodies of the American Songbook. On Saturday night they appeared at the Dome in Brighton to play the film scores of George Gershwin. Gershwin who died tragically young aged 38 of a brain tumour composed Porgy and Bess, An American in Paris and Rhapsody in Blue. The melodies had a soaring quality when played by a full orchestra.
The only criticism my companion and I had were of the two vocalists, Loiuse Dear and and Matthew Ford. Both were wooden, there was little chemistry between the two and they could not dance. This was such a shame as one inevitably thought of Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris when s’ Wonderful was played.
The concert lasted two and a half hours and although never bored we felt its length as the female soloist sang two encores. Surely better to end in two hours withe rousing I got rhythm? Oddly there was nothing from Porgy and Bess which had such catchy numbers as I gott plenty of nuttin and Summertime. Small criticism of an enjoyable evening in which the youngest person present was John Wilson himself.