Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Qatar UK 2013 Concert

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 27th May, 2013

Qatar UK 2013Wael BinaliThis year the Gulf state of Qatar is collaborating with the United Kingdom in an extensive programme of cultural events, the spirit of which was captured tonight in a Musical Celebration at the Cadogan Hall off London’s Sloane Square. The concert provided an eclectic mix of both traditional (Handel and Elgar) and modern (David Heath) British as well as contemporary work by the Qatari-Lebanese film score composer Wael Binali. It was not surprising that the style of the last-mentioned sounded familiar as he has written music for a number of movies and TV specials; conveniently for that business he lives in West Hollywood with a menagerie of pet-companions. His work is orchestral, in the best sense of the word, and atmospheric, conjuring up the sounds and sights of Arabia while remaining accessible to a Western audience. I confess I was completely unfamiliar with the work of David Heath (no, not the Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome), but was fascinated that it reminded me of stuff I used to write as a teenager (only Heath’s work is infinitely better) when I briefly studied musical theory and composition at the Northern School of Music. Apparently one of Heath’s main inspirations was the African-American saxophonist and jazz composer John Coltrane, plus a healthy dose of religious mysticism, and in the world premiere performance of his piece “Hope Springs Eternal” tonight the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was joined by the Royal College of Music’s Vigala Singers. We in the audience were spoiled, as there were also world premieres of Wael Binali’s “Earth”, “Journey to the Oasis” and “Shafallah Suite 3: The Oryx and the Unicorn”. Qatar has of course used a sizeable chunk of its oil and gas revenue to turn itself into something of a world cultural hub in the Arabian Gulf; indeed, the Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority which organised this evening’s event as part of Qatar-UK 2013, Sheika Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, is the Ruler’s daughter.

Link: http://www.qataruk2013.com

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