Band concerts - a family affair

On november 5 I had the third opportunity to listen to the King's Own Band in the friendly auditorium of the Catholic Institute with John Galea conducting a programme of source material largely from the Mediterranean.

The entire presentation was quite ceremoniously conducted, with the audience, as is customary, standing on the entrance of the President of Malta. The programme notes were announced by the clear and charming voice of Joyce Guillaumier, which came across succinctly and with all the required information.

When Mro Galea strode confidently onto to the stage it seemed clear that he was expecting to please his audience and to be pleased himself. The first half of the programme began with Carmelo Caruana's valse brillante Luke (with which I was unfamiliar), proceeded with Weber's Concertino for Clarinet (which I believe I had heard before), and ended with John Galea's Three Mediterranean Portraits, which I know I had recently heard when the National Orchestra under Michael Laus played it at the Presidential Palace courtyard.

What my attention was focused on was the degree to which the musicians, in a concerted effort to present the composer's ideas of sound, were seen to be aware of each other's effort to achieve that goal and when that effort is accomplished the audience is rewarded. This audience was indeed rewarded.

The second half of the programme presented the finale of Verdi's Il Trovatore, Paolino Vassallo's Malta Overture and Charles Camilleri's Malta Suite. As the second half of the programme progressed it became apparent that the band had built upon the earlier well-established esprit de corps for which both the band leader, Paul Busuttil and Mro Galea should be pleased, and the programme finished with great enthusiasm expressed by both audience and performers.

One of the characteristics that might describe the presentation of concerts in Malta is that, by and large, the audience seems to secretly pray for the success of the participants as though any success was, indeed, a truly shared family affair. If, as a commentator, this strikes me as significant, it is probably because my training and background have been in the area of experimental psychology on the one hand and as a painter and art critic/historian on the other.

The combination of these efforts, the psychology and the art have put me into a position where my efforts have largely been directed toward the identification of how the creative mind works, so, I was as much preoccupied with my own internal responses to the concert as I was with the concert itself.

I feel the reader should be aware of this in the event some very astute fellow noticed the difference from the traditional approach to the writing up of concert events.

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