Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Over the weekend, I watched the new British film Quartet, which was almost a who's who of British cinema over the age of 60. Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, but not for the story. It was wonderful to see all the retired musicians taking cameos during the film. Apparently, all the extras were real retired musicians. I knew a few by reputation, but one I knew personally, the clarinettist (Colin Bradbury) who featured a lot, especially near the beginning of the film. He was one of my clients several years ago. (I visited his house on a couple of occasions to help him with his computer and Score.)

Particularly enticing was hearing Dame Gwyneth Jones sing an aria just before the ending. She still has it. I think I last heard her as Brunhilde in Die Walküre in the early 90's. There is some lovely music throughout the film. Dario Marinelli skilfully piece together familiar music, with his arrangements, and I believe a little incidental music of his own, although I couldn't be sure.

The story was predictable, and I won't even bother with it. The real story was that of the extras, the retired musicians, who, while struggling with the physical aspects of their profession, still exhibited moments of genius. (There was a trumpeter that did some jazz improvisation about half way through that really stood out.)

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