Written by Music, Radio

Jonny Greenwood – Doghouse

Alan Turing - Blue Plaque
(This photo has nothing to do with the concert, but I took it down the road from the BBC’s Maida Vale studios).
I’d never been to the BBC’s Maida Vale studios. But this evening I was off to them to see the BBC Concert Orchestra playing the world premiere of Jonny Greenwood’s new piece as Composer-in-Association (not Residence as the notes claimed) – Doghouse.
A deluge of rain gave a nice soaking to the hundred and fifty or so people queuing outside the studios just before we were let in.
There was a full programme recorded live with a Radio 3 presenter – Sara Mohr-Pietsch – introducing pieces or back announcing them as we heard them. Conducting was Robert Ziegler who I think has worked a little with Greenwood on this.
The selection of other music we heard was eclectic to say the least. It’s probably a fair reflection of the kind of music that the BBC Concert Orchestra plays regularly. So we heard some 40s and 50s pieces with their soaring strings from films of that period. But we jumped around quite a lot. So we heard Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo, a piece from Angelo Badalamenti’s Blue Velvet, an extract from the score to Limelight, apparently composed by Charlie Chaplin himself, and a piece featuring extracts from Frank Waxman’s score to Rebecca. There were also pieces by Robert Farnon and Angela Morley.
Before Doghouse, Mohr-Pietsch interviewed Greenwood and Ziegler about the genesis of the piece, and its meaning. Then we heard the 20 minute or so piece which I felt was somewhat different to the other pieces we’d heard. Trying to describe it here would be difficult, but if you’re familiar with Popcorn Superhet Receiver, which would become part of the awesome soundtrack to There Will Be Blood, will give you an idea. This is more challenging fare. Indeed it seems that this piece will inform the soundtrack to a forthcoming Japanese film, Norwegian Wood, based on the novel by Murakami.
Anyway, in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to hear as it’s broadcast on Afternoon on 3 on Friday 19 March at 2pm.