Something new to sneeze about
EVER wondered which musical instrument can best replicate the human sneeze? Queensland Symphony Orchestra conductor Guy Noble has had reason to ponder the question.
‘‘It’s the trombone,’’ he laughs and replicates the sound of musical sneeze as it explodes from brass.
Noble has the time to think about such questions ahead of Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s visit to the Gold Coast tomorrow to perform a program called Something Old Something New.
The eclectic song list includes American musician and humourist Peter Schickele’s Fanfare for the Common Cold, a whimsical spoof of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.
‘‘Lovely title isn’t it,’’ says Noble.
‘‘Schickele is an American composer who was famous for his sendup alter ego PDQ Bach. I saw him at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1991, and it was one of the best nights I’ve ever had at a concert.
‘‘He is an amazing musician comedian and this particular piece is all about sneezing. I have a great love for his music. There’s a lot of humour in it and there’s not enough of that in classical music.’’
Fanfare for the Common Cold is just one lesser known work that will be performed as part of a program of opposites, old and new; frenetic and calm; serious and funny.
Highlights include a performance of Gliere’s expressive Concerto for Horn, which thrusts horn player Malcolm Stewart into the spotlight.
The program also includes Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna, Rossini’s Il signor Bruschino, Faure’s Pavane, Massenet’s Manon, Satie’s Debussy Gymnopedie No.1, Schubert’s March Militaire No. 1 in D, Vaughan Williams’ The Wasps, Dvorak’s Humoresque No. 7, Wagner’s Lohengrin, Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 in E-flat major for Horn and Orchestra and Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night: Overture. Noble likes to describe the eclectic program as a musical taster plate. ‘‘It’s not like sitting down to a three-course musical meal . . . what we offer up is a musical taster plate.
‘‘We like to offer up plenty of variety. We’re in the business of growing an audiences and when you grow an audience, you want people to turn up and enjoy themselves.
‘‘You can’t say ‘This is classical music. It’s good for you like eating brussels sprouts.’ You have to be entertaining and I seriously hope that’s what audiences are going to say we are when it’s all over.
‘‘Great music has lots of humour. I like to think of these things as an entertainment rather than a concert.
‘‘I mean obviously certain music has to be like that. An entire Mahler symphony can run to more than two hours and can be rather depressing and if that’s what you’re playing, all well and good, but we’re not presenting anything like that.’’
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra presents Something Old Something New at The Arts Centre Gold Coast tomorrow at 7.30pm. Tickets are $25 to $52.
– LISA SIMMONS
Conductor and ABC radio presenter Guy Noble