Something came through my letter box yesterday, something that really I shouldn’t let pass me by and something I would have done on a regular basis and taken for granted my ability to do so. When I was a student studying composition going to concerts would be a regular occurrence and very much a necessity to help keep the grey matter ticking over with ideas. My writing has very much been influenced by minimalism, in particular the American composer Steve Reich, I wouldn’t say that minimalism has been my only influence Vaughn-Williams, Bartok, Satie, Frank Zappa and Shostakovich have all had an impact on my music. This is quite a dilemma for me, a concert featuring the piece “18 Musicians” is truly a treat for the ears and it would be a fantastic experience to see it played live, the tickets are even very reasonable priced, perfectly within the financial grasp of dolescum like me. So what’s the problem? My tics are the problem, I will settle down after a while but sweary outbursts, random insults and unwarranted clapping is not the done thing at Birmingham Symphony Hall. I have visions of my self being frog-marched through the atrium and ejected from the building, not to mention the scowls that I would get from my fellow concert-goers. Had the programme been a fairly conventional programme containing an overture, a concerto then a symphony I might be able to try and blend in and my tics would be masked by the louder passages of music and of course an opportunity to clap between the pieces (not between movements). My clapping tic has received unwarranted attention in the past, I was at a conference about the social care reforms that the Labour government wanted to implement and clapped intermittently throughout Andy Burnham’s (MP) speech to which at the end he thanked me for the applause. Applauding him was the last thing on my mind. By to my dilemma this programme contains just 2 pieces, Thomas Ades’ “In Seven Days” which is 30 minutes long and Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” 56 minutes of minimal bliss where the occasional clap or obscenity would stick out like a sore thumb. As you’ve probably guessed I’d love to go, my partner is also considering coming, but he reacts badly to my tics and rather than physically intervene (which works) he would rather nag at me to stop, which I find upsetting. To go, or not to go? That is the question.
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