Monday, 13 November 2017

The Opposite Of The Best,

is the worst,

and if you are thinking orchestras, I have just heard it, the worst that is, the Portsmouth Sinfonia is often credited as the brainchild of Gavin Bryars, a composer and lecturer at England’s Portsmouth School of Art, in May of 1970, Bryars put on a three-day talent contest at the school called “Opportunity Rocks,” a play on the name of a popular British radio and television talent show, like the TV show, Bryars’ contest used a competition format, pitting all sort of acts, from comedians to ventriloquists, against one another, Bryars’ own entry in the contest was the hastily named Portsmouth Sinfonia,

the original Sinfonia consisted of 13 members, mostly students who had little to no musical experience, the “scratch” orchestra was meant as a one-off joke, part of a larger collection of silly acts, and they didn’t win the contest, still, their playful irreverence hit a nerve, spurred on by an outpouring of enthusiasm for their initial performance, the Sinfonia continued to play, growing in size over the next several years, their policy was that anyone, of any skill level, could join, with the exception being that skilled musicians could not join and simply play poorly on purpose, another rule was that all members had to show up for practice, the composer Brian Eno, who joined the Sinfonia in late 1970 as a clarinetist (he’d never played that particular instrument before), would go on to remark that the group’s ranks were filled with “a range of competence, from bona fide virtuosi to extremely incompetent.” the last would be me then, above the "Also sprach Zarathustra" also called the 2001 Space Odyssey in case you can not recognise it,

they got into waltzes as well, this the unmistakable Blue Danube Waltz, well there were a few mistakes,

the good news was that they got better as this dated recording of the Wilhelm Tell Overture, with Brian Eno will confirm.

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