Category Archives: Intellectual

Grace and poise

This weekend, New Dublin Voices took part in a production of ‘Singin’ In The Rain’ at the National Concert Hall. It was a full week of rehearsals starting with the conductor, John Wilson, putting us through our paces on Monday evening before we went along to the full orchestral rehearsals during the week. It was a wonderful experience—I really enjoyed sitting beside the bass clarinet player, having done a lot of orchestral clarinet playing in university. Being inside the orchestra was great. John Wilson reconstructed the score, the original having been tragically consigned to landfill many years ago. (In an article I read in Classic FM magazine with John, he also sadly notes that a lot of the music libraries of the big studios were destroyed. There was nothing for it but to literally write it all out again. It must’ve been a mammoth task!) The RTÉ Concert Orchestra were augmented with a rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, drums) and, behind us on stage, a full saxophone section. They had some really lovely moments in the score, providing that close-harmony sound that only saxes can do. Seriously, it was a real treat sitting in the middle of it all and watching the realisation of this sublime music.

Here’s the sequence from the film for ‘Moses Supposes’, which the amazing dancers did pretty much step-for-step at the NCH:

A couple of my friends posted links to this video, too. Jaw-droppingly good. Danny Macaskill is to a trail bike what Gene Kelly is to tap shoes.


John Adams gave the commencement speech at Juilliard this week, where he was being presented with an honorary doctorate (along with the amazing Herbie Hancock—if you love music, get his album ‘The Imagine Project’). It’s a great speech about being an artist.

Twyla Tharp, Herbie Hancock, Derek Jacobi, John Adams

It calls to mind a post I did a few months ago that highlighted inspiration from Sam West and Austin Kleon.

The Good Book

AC Grayling, one of my very favourite writers and thinkers, talked at the Sydney Writer’s Festival yesterday about his latest work, the culmination of three decades of living as a philosopher. In ‘The Good Book’, Grayling aims to open up the “casket of jewels”— the great ideas about living that have been set down through the ages and that belong to us all.

Listen to his talk here.

The full listing of speakers at the festival is here.