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Home arrow Older News Archive arrow Roger Waters at Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival
Roger Waters at Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Saturday, 07 August 2004

As mentioned previously on the Brain Damage news pages, this year's Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival (which runs until August 21st) was including a special show, yesterday evening, to include a couple of selections from Roger Waters' forthcoming and long-awaited opera about the French Revolution, Ca Ira. Not only were selections performed, but there was a very special guest - Roger himself!

The event, run at a small Presbyterian church in Bridgehampton, New York, is an annual event held in a beautiful chapel, and is a mainly local audience for the music. Roger himself has a home in the area, which goes some way to explain his support for the event.

Our US correspondent, Elliot Tayman, was there to report back and take some pictures of the event. Over to Elliot:

The Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church last night played host to a very special evening titled "Grand Tour", where Roger Waters (in attendance) would make his world premeire of two LIVE tracks in a public performance of 'Ca Ira'. The evening is part of the 'Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival' which takes place each year. This is their 21st season and runs from July 28th - August 21st. The evening also featured performances of classical pieces by Peter llyich Tchaikovsky and Aaron Copeland.

The evening began at 7:30PM EST. The lights dimmed and a 6-piece string ensemble of classical performers took the stage. (I should mention that Waters entered through a backstage door and took his seat amongst the audience just prior to this). First on the evening's agenda was a performance of "Souvenir de Florence", Sextet for Strings, OP 70 by Peter llyich Tchaikovsky.

After this there was an intermission and Waters was approached by autograph seekers and photographers. He then left the audience and headed towards the hallway area. More photographers and autograph seekers. The house lights soon flashed signalling the re-start of the show. Once again the string ensemble, now consisting of thirteen performers, took the stage.

Next up on the evening's agenda was a performance of Aaron Copeland's "Music For Movies". After this ended Waters got up from his aisle seat and headed towards the stage. He played MC for his own composition - Ca Ira. He spent about five minutes telling the audience what Ca Ira is based upon. After a round of applause and lots of camera flashes going off during and after his speech, he headed back to his seat. We were then treated to a live rendition of two tracks from Ca Ira, which were preceded by The Overture (as played at the Royal Albert Hall back in 2002): The Letter, and Bastille. Once finished, Waters then got up from his seat and headed back up on stage where he thanked the audience. More camera flashes going off.

The ensemble left through the backstage area. But Waters headed back into the audience where he signed more autographs and allowed a few fans to photograph him alone and with themselves in the picture. He took about 15 minutes and eventually left the church with a couple of people, including a pretty blonde.

He actually did the driving behind the wheel of an SUV vehicle. No doubt he was heading back to his Southampton home where he has spent the last few summers. He took thirty seats from the audience and reserved them for a large group of friends.

I did manage to speak briefly with him. He seemed interested in knowing about me but it wasn't possible to get a shot of me and him together. I asked him if he noticed my car in the car park with custom license plates which reads 'ECHOES'! We were hoping that not too many fans would show up wearing Pink Floyd/Roger Waters T-shirts and hound him for autographs. Luckily, partly due to the nature of the event, he wasn't overwhelmed, and spent time and care to ensure people got what they wanted, a signature, a picture or a brief chat. There wasn't a huge number of fans in attendance as word of this event hadn't been publicised in any major publications. Ads appeared in only one or two small local publications. Most of the audience members were people in their late 50's and older.

Ron Delsener, the huge 1970's/1980's NYC concert promoter, was in attendance as well. I know he's a friend of Waters. I chatted with him about the good old days. I told him I saw the band live at some of their legendary NYC concerts which he promoted. He thanked me for reminding him of those wonderful days. I also chatted with fellow members of the audience, who all enjoyed the show, and also enjoyed watching me run around!

Finally, here's what was in the event programme about Roger and the performance. Makes for some interesting reading...

Roger Waters -- Two Songs From Ca Ira
Arr. for Chamber Ensemble by Robert Sadin

The Letter

Slatter; Martin, Snow, Manasse, Kolkay, Ralske, Gould, Kavafian, Gomyo, Ninomiya, Chang, Chen, Tzavaras, Arron, Cobb, Polonsky, Poland

Roger Waters (Born September 6, 1943 in Great Bookham, Surrey, England)

Two Songs from "Ca Ira" ("We'll Make It")

Roger Waters gained worldwide fame as founder, bassist, lyricist and principal composer for Pink Floyd, whose sales of more than sixty million albums of The Wall, Dark Side Of The Moon and other releases made it one of the most successful of all rock groups - their 1991 [obviously 1990, without the others!] charity performance at the Potzdamer Platz in celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall was performed before some 350,000 people. In observance of the bicentenary of the French revolution in 1989, Roger began an opera titled Ca Ira ("We'll Make It") with librettist Etienne Roda-Gil intended, according to the collaborators, to "use the Revolution as a metaphor for the strength and power of human change and growth." Waters returned to the score in 1998, and is currently bringing it to completion. A recording of three excerpts was played on April 30, 2004 at the ceremonies marking the admission of Malta to the European Union, a full recording with Bryn Terfel, Paul Groves and Ying Huang is planned, and a stage production is scheduled in November 2004 at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, site of the start of the Russian Revolution in 1917.

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