Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let's talk Osvaldo Golijov and climate change

Bach ~ Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G BWV 1048
Osvaldo Golijov ~ Last Round
Interval
Vivaldi ~ Four Seasons
Astor Piazzolla arr. Leonid Desyatnikov ~ Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
This programme is being performed by the Britten Sinfonia in Norwich on Sunday (Oct 18). I am giving a pre-concert talk with Thomas Gould who is co-leader of the Britten Sinfonia. Tom is also guest leader of the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Montreal and is something of a contemporary music specialist, working with composers such as Nico Muhly.

Sunday's concert is titled Eight Seasons. Apart from being a cracking band the Britten Sinfonia is one of the few classical ensembles that are environmentally aware. Last December they teamed up with Greenpeace to play at the UN meeting on climate change in Poland, and they travelled there by train and coach, two of the most environmentally friendly methods of transport. By contrast the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC has teamed up with Cunard to play on cruise ships, one of the least environmentally friendly methods of transport.

Sadly, environmental concerns do not seem to be a big deal for the classical music industry, unlike the antics of Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna. Back in 2007 I suggested we ask How green was my concert? and no one was terribly interested

* Hear a podcast of this pre-concert talk here.

My photo was taken in late September on the foreshore of the Lac du Der Chantecoq in France when the water in the man-made lake was at a very low level due to the lack of rainfall. We used a diesel car and mountain bikes plus a cross-Channel ferry to reach the photo location. I am receiving two complimentary tickets for the Britten Sinfonia's Eight Seasons concert for presenting the pre-concert talk. Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2009. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

4 comments:

Pliable said...

Someone is probably going to ask how Thomas Gould commutes between East Anglia and Montreal.

Well, there is an interview with him in Sunday's programme which says:

If you had a super power what would it be?

To 'jump' from one place to another and without the need to travel.

What are your favourite non-musical hobbies?

Mountain-biking

Dave Harmon said...

I, for one, am terribly interested. I make my living in the conservation field, particularly protected areas conservation, and the day is soon coming that all of us will have to closely reckon the environmental footprint of our favorite happiness-producing activities.

Mine include traveling to protected areas, and those of us who promote national parks and similar areas have begun to recognize that we cannot ignore the ecological impacts of encouraging people to travel to these special places ... even though tourism is a main source of that continuing financial and political capital that sustains protected areas.

The point is, as virtuous as parks and protected areas may be, and as much as I love them, they come at an environmental cost. Another of my loves is music, and as you have pointed out in several blogs, it too comes with a cost to the planet -- no matter its virtues or the pleasure it brings.

The solution is not to be found in achieving some spurious, static "balance" between enjoying life and eliminating all environmental impacts. The solution is cultivating an active keen awareness of our environmental footprint in all our daily activities, and letting that Earth-awareness suffuse our sensibilities so that it becomes second nature to act in ways that minimize our impacts. It sounds to me that the Britten ensemble is on the road to that kind of awareness.

Dave Harmon

Pliable said...

'The solution is not to be found in achieving some spurious, static "balance" between enjoying life and eliminating all environmental impacts. The solution is cultivating an active keen awareness of our environmental footprint in all our daily activities, and letting that Earth-awareness suffuse our sensibilities so that it becomes second nature to act in ways that minimize our impacts'.

David, can I just endorse what you have said, and thank you for saying it. Being out on a limb doesn't concern me, but having nobody listening does. Your comment has encouraged me to continue writing about the cost to the planet of classical music.

Could I also recommend a quite inspirational book that both my wife and myself have read recently - Babs2Brisbane. It should be read by everyone who believes that flying is unavoidable in the 21st century.

http://www.babs2brisbane.com/?page_id=5

Thank you for your comment David.

Rachel said...

It is so inspiring to hear about an ensemble that has a passion for the earth along with their music. They could make a huge impact with this message and a lot of ensembles could follow suit based on their model. Being a musician can easily turn into a career that requires a lot of traveling and, even if you don't mean to, you could end up having a huge impact on your environment. I'm glad the Britten Sinfonia is taking steps to prevent this from happening.