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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 13 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 13 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 13 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

The Times recently rated the Northern Sinfonia as the third-best orchestra in the country.  I went to see them perform some Mozart yesterday, at home in The Sage Gateshead, and I reckon they’re better than that.

I’m no authority on classical music performance, but then I’m not an authority on anything and that’s not stopped me writing the last 974 missives.  But my limited knowledge does allow me to say that I thought the Northern Sinfonia was fantastic – an amazing three hours, in an amazing location.

If you’re looking for a bit of a different night out, it’s highly recommended.

This 972nd post was filed under: Reviews.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / October 2019, 3 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / September 2019, 6 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / August 2019, 7 minutes long

A flying visit to Copenhagen / July 2019, 9 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / June 2019, 6 minutes long

Some random old posts

Why are bad books so popular? / May 2006, Less than a minute long

Politcal amusement / December 2005, 2 minutes long

Sponsor me to spell (please!) / January 2012, 1 minute long

The art of translation / January 2019, 5 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / February 2018, 2 minutes long

Denmark cartoon controversy / February 2006, 4 minutes long


Comments and responses

Comment from Anonymous


by Anonymous

Comment posted at 14:04 on 5th May 2007.

You have not got a fucking clue about classical music. The northern sinfonia are by no means the 3rd best orchestra in the country. The gentleman who wrote that article was not thinking before he wrote – he mostly complimented the sinfonia on their hall, saying nothing about their playing and stating that apart from Zehetmair they had nobodys coming in to conduct. Recommend them by all means, but having later admitted you are not an expert, don’t suggest they shoudl be “ranked” even higher than 3rd. HAve you heard any others?! They must be about the 10th best if that!


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 14:15 on 5th May 2007.

I’m very sorry to have upset you.

I admit fully that I know little about classical music. But if you want to berate me based on the fact that I have little knowledge about the things I comment on, then there are better posts to start with that this. I also, for example, have never owned a Barbie doll.

I have heard many other orchestras, and felt that this was the best I had heard. I’m no expert, and it may well be because of the atmosphere in the building, my general affect, and so forth, but I enjoyed it.

Of course, as you choose not to post your name or any details of your qualifications for commenting, my readers and I have absolutely no idea whether you are more knowledgeable and able to rank this country’s orchestras than the Times’ Chief Music Critic, with whom you clearly disagree.

If you’d like to rectify that, and perhaps post a constructive comment about who your apparent ‘Top 10’ British orchestras are, then please do feel free.


Comment from a musician


by a musician

Comment posted at 15:00 on 15th December 2007.

Mr. Anonymous fairly reeks of that ol London bias. Having played with pretty much every major orchestra in this country and some damn fine ones abroad, I can say that the Northern Sinfonia is most definitely one of the best certainly and my favourite chamber orchestra. If less people had his closed attitiude maybe it might attract the quality of visiting conductors/soloists it deserves.


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