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A Three-Pipe Concert - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
qatsi
qatsi
A Three-Pipe Concert
An interlude in the Sibelius cycle on Sunday afternoon was the Sherlock Holmes Prom. The seats were quite full, but the arena had plenty of space (and in fact although I was about half way back, only about 10% of the Prommers stayed for the evening concert, in which I got to the second row). There were a few fans wearing deerstalkers, but I managed to avoid having them in my line of view; someone had also placed a deerstalker on the bust of Sir Henry Wood for the occasion. I wasn't sure what we would get as the programme was kept under wraps, but I hoped it would be interesting, and in particular I was hoping for some of Patrick Gowers' music from the Granada series starring Jeremy Brett from the 1980s.

In many ways, what we got was a very "traditional" Prom concert, though this is not the general format nowadays, with orchestral snippets, and numbers by instrumental and vocal soloists. Matthew Sweet narrated, and Mark Gatiss added some spoken excerpts from Conan Doyle. Musically, there were orchestral excerpts from several Sherlock Holmes adaptations for big and small screen: Hans Zimmer/Robert Ziegler (from 2009 and 2011 films), Frank Skinner ("no, not that one") (from a Basil Rathbone film, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, 1942), Miklós Rózsa (The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, 1970), and David Arnold/Michael Price/Anthony Weeden (the BBC's Sherlock). To my satisfaction, there were also four excerpts from the Patrick Gowers music, in which the BBC Concert Orchestra was joined by violinist Jack Liebeck.

The other music in the concert was more creatively linked to Holmes. Liebeck again joined the orchestra for the third movement of Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 2 ("La campanella"). From a reference to The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, after which Holmes "returned refreshed to his monograph upon the Polyphonic Motets of Lassus", we derived Osculetur me and Super flumina Babylonis, marvellously sung by Stile Antico. From operatic diva Irene Adler, "the woman", we derived arias from The Barber of Seville and Eugene Onegin, sung (and acted) by Christine Rice. More tenuously still, from The Adventure of the Red Circle, "It is not eight o'clock, and a Wagner night at Covent Garden! If we hurry, we might be in time for the second act", we derived The Ride of the Valkyries. (From which we deduce (a) that Holmes wasn't bothered by "bleeding chunks", and (b) that his cab driver was quite slovenly, as this is the prelude to the third act).

Throughout the concert, projectors and screens showed a variety of film posters and stills, including all the adaptations mentioned above, the Tom Baker Hound of the Baskervilles, and no doubt others as well. Given the nature of the concert I think that worked well.

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