Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thunderbirds Are Go at the Royal Festival Hall

I loved the Gerry Anderson TV shows when I was a kid (especially Fireball XL-5), so when I saw there was a SuperMarionation concert at the Royal Festival Hall, I didn't hestitate to book a ticket. I knew it would be lively and fun, and it was. Anyone who's familiar with the music knows what I mean -- those puppets could dance. It was the centenary of the birth of Anderson's composer Barry Gray, as good an excuse as any. I was surprised at the length of the concert -- all the major shows and films were highlighted, performed by the very large Philharmonia Orchestra plus vocal group Voces8, who did a particularly fine job with a rather complex Bach-like fugue, and Pascale Rousee-Lacordaire, playing the ondes Martenot (an electronic instrument similar to a Theramin). Hosting was Brian Blessed, energetic and jolly, with special guest Gerry Anderson himself (who got the singularly British 'three cheers -- hip hip hooray' from the audience, the first I'd ever heard outside of a movie). Above, the spaceship from Journey to the Far Side of the Sun arrives. The Royal Festival Hall was opened in 1951 and has a handsome, pleasant and vast auditorium. The fireworks in the background are the from the annual Lord Mayor Show.

Composer Barry Gray (1908-1984)
A short stroll west along the Southbank from the Festival Hall is the London Eye and this stunning view across the Thames.

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