Saturday, 30 November 2019

Playing in The Dark - Neil Gaiman and the BBC Symphony Orchestra

I like Neil Gaiman, and I like music, so when I saw that Neil was going to be reading from some of his works, with accompanying music from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, of course I needed to get a ticket, and to add to the enjoyment, I got to hang out with some friends before the show.

We met up for  some delicious Chinese food and lots of conversation, then we had a brisk (and partially unplanned - thanks, London Underground!) walk to the Barbican, where we split up (as we had not booked at the same time, so had separate seats)

I had a mild panic, as just after I sat down another woman with a ticket for the same seat also  showed up, but happily the Barbican staff were able to sort it out (it turned out that the other lady had a different seat allocated to her in their system than the one on her e-mail confirmation, so no-one missed out. 

The format of the evening was Neil reading from his works, and  introducing pieces of music, mostly with a brief explanation or comment about what the music meant to him, or why he chose it.

BBC Symphony Orchestra (before Neil came on)
The  readings and  pieces of music were, in order;

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Dukas)

April (from 'A Calendar of Tales'

Walking the Dog (Gershwin)

The Ocean at the end of the Lane (extract)

The Nightmare Song (Gilbert &Sullivan) Sung by Simon Butteriss

The Mushroom Hunters (read by Amanda Palmer)

(accompanied by an arrangement by Jherek Bischoff)

 There is a link here to a recording of her reading it to the music, on a different occasion  

Vampire Sestine

Valse Triste (Sibelius)

October (from 'A Calendar of Tales) 

Oriental March, Belshazzer's Feast (Sibelius)


The Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner)

Norse Mythology (Fenris Wolf)

Fahrenheit 451 - Prelude (Hermann)
The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury

Dies Irae,Sinfnia da Requiem   (Britten)

A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square (Sherwin, arr. Jherek Bishoff)
Sung by Amanda Palmer

Then,  just when we thought the show was over, Neil returned to introduce a special guest to give a reading from Good Omens, everyone's favourite less-than-wholly-evil demon, Mr David Tennant.
David Tennant reading from Good Omens
He read from the scene where Aziraphale and Crowley are drinking in Aziraphale's bookshop, and he was glorious! The narration was in his own (Scottish) voice, but the dialogue he did in his Crowley voice, and in a superb Michael Sheen as Aziraphale . 

We didn't get to hear hear the extra verses of Nanny Crowley's lullaby, which I had thought might be a possibility, when I hears that he was appearing, but one can't have everything, and we did get a lot! 

If I knew who came up with these captions I would credit them, but I don't,
so I can't
And people have been having fun with the photos of Neil and David doing their respective readings, as you can see above!

We also got to hear the Good Omens  theme played by the full orchestra, which was wonderful! And both for that, and for David'd reading, the stage was lit, half red, and half golden white, 

All of this took far, far longer than the advertised run time, which  is probably why the broadcast which goes out on Christmas Day will, I think, be edited and won't include David's reading, but I may be wrong (or the BBC may change their mind!)

Because I am very fortunate in my friends, I got to go to a party afterwards, and while that and the over-running show meant I missed the last train home, and had to find a hotel at very short notice, it was such a fun evening that it was worth it all!

The broadcast is on from 7.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on 23rd December, and will be available worldwide via BBC Sounds for 30 days after that..

1 comment:

spacedlaw said...

It was a brilliant day. Thanks for being part of it (sorry about the last minute hotel).