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<<  -- 2 --  Jennifer Paull    REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES


I first heard the oboe during a weekly BBC radio programme, Music and Movement. My class undertook the basic rhythmical exercises to music that passed for gymnastics at the time. I was eight, and knew that I wanted to make that haunting instrumental sound myself. This resolution was still within me, and here, three years later, I was about to see oboists playing for the first time.

Less than half way through the overture I know without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a professional oboist. It was a revelation and a call to arms. How could I forget the feeling every time I revisited the hall? Unfortunately, my parents didn't see my future in the same way, so my only visits to this building were for annual, monotonous school Speech Days for several more years.

The Philharmonic Hall itself has a very distinctive style. I didn't know it then, but of course this hall is one of the most perfect examples of Art Deco architecture. When I did eventually play in the Merseyside Youth Orchestra, I had climbed a personal Everest to obtain an instrument, take lessons, and be accepted as a member. I can still recall the exact feeling of being on that stage for the Sunday morning rehearsals; the slow flickering of dust particles in the beam of the spotlights.

I played many times with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra over the years. No matter what we were playing, no matter who was conducting, the hall itself was a familiar, welcoming friend.

Many years later, I returned to show my children just how beautiful it was. We found the plaque dedicated to the musicians of the Titanic. I had always thought such a plaque was a very noble and fitting gesture. For the first time I saw the amazing cinema screen which was open on stage. Somehow, I had never seen it open before. As Art Deco in its frame as the rest of this building, I was very happy to find that recent restoration had been undertaken with perfect attention to original detail. Everything was just as it had always been.

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Copyright © 8 February 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland





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