We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Lighthouse, Poole for a concert celebrating the music of Elton John —what kind of evening can people look forward to?
The programme we have devised (Graham Bickley and I) tries to cover all aspects of his song writing, ranging from chart-topping rock and roll (Crocodile Rock, Honky Cat, I’m Still Standing) through beautiful ballads (Candle in the Wind and Your Song) to musical theatre (Lion King, Aida and Billy Elliot). Most exciting, however, is the opportunity to feature the Orchestra front and centre in all the songs but specifically in two epic numbers (Tonight and Funeral for a Friend) which have long, purely instrumental sections – each song lasting between 8 and 9 minutes.
We’ve also managed to include some songs which might not be quite so well known (for example Belfast) but which, when performed with orchestral strings really come to life. All the songs we have chosen originally had some kind of instrumental backing which I have highlighted and featured in the new orchestrations. Above all, it’s a joyous celebration of some wonderful songs.
Elton John’s music has such enduring appeal (it’s 50 years after Your Song first topped the UK singles charts!)…why do you think this is?
Without question, because of the quality of the writing. The way music and lyrics combine to such strong effect means the songs will live in the memory in the immediate time after the concert but also for many days afterwards. He crafted the songs beautifully and they tap into the emotions in such a strong way that they will never cease to please, generation after generation.
Tell us a little about the raft of West End stars joining you on stage….
Apart from Graham we will be joined by Stuart Matthew Price, Jon Boydon and Katie Birtill. They are all firmly established West End or recording stars, each having a glittering career of their own. In this concert they all provide backing vocals for each other so the layers of vocal sound are a delight to hear and bring a very individual touch to the programme.
We are also delighted that the fabulous John G Smith will be joining us as featured pianist – so many of the songs feature Elton playing in his unique style and I can think of no-one better than John to take on this challenge.
If you had to pick a favourite of his songs, which would it be and why?
Your Song has always been a particular favourite of mine. When it came out in 1972 I was about to go to the Guildhall to study piano and violin so was mainly focussed on classical music but this song struck me as being on a par with anything in the classical canon and I loved it immediately. It’s one of my all-time favourite songs. In this programme I always look forward to Tonight and Funeral for a Friend for their epic orchestral exposition and to the strings in Belfast which I think rank near the very top of English writing for strings.
Having said that, I just love this programme for its variety, power and excitement. It’s going to be a brilliant night in Poole with the wonderful Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Can’t wait!