Dr Gabb tells me that he finds musical score-reading a challenge and would appreciate some pointers in the right direction. I hope I may be of some assistance. I have been reading scores since before I could play the piano – indeed, I owe the fact that I play the piano in no mean part to the fact that I read scores. Let me explain.
My home was not a musical one, and we had but few classical records. Noting my response to these as well as to a number of television signature tunes, my parents thought that I might have some form of musical ability. They bought me a small radio. I cannot remember being encouraged to listen to anything in particular. Radio 4 was the predominant listening elsewhere in the house, with Radio 2 for the football results. For some reason, I tuned in to the “old” Radio 3. It was not only the music that attracted me, but the presentation. The style and content spoke to me in a way that little has done since. I had found a spiritual home, and for some years believed that my future lay as a Radio 3 announcer. Of course, by the time I was old enough to be actively considering career options, that job had effectively disappeared.
This is the sort of thing I heard there:
This is the sound of order. It is at once clear, informative, elegant and humane. It is and remains, to my mind, the approach that is suited to the presentation of Western art music better than any other. I certainly did not find it stuffy or overly formal. By contrast, it opened up similar vistas to me as did Chapman’s Homer to Keats. It absorbed, fascinated and inspired. Read more