The Music Of Barry Gray - Charles Hazlewood's All Star Collective

Ondes Martenot, Swarmatron, with Charles Hazlewood      23/02/16

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If you listen to BBC 6 Music (and if not, I highly recommend you find it online or DAB right now, it's the best music radio station on the planet, bar none!) you'll know that the BBC 6 Music Festival was held in Bristol last weekend - and a belter it was, by all accounts.

As well as the main performances at the Colston Hall and Trinity Centre, there were numerous other venues throughout the city hosting events as part of The Fringe, and one of them caught our eyes and ears.

I was listening to the radio a few days before the festival began and there was a short interview with conductor Charles Hazlewood, who was talking about the music of Barry Gray - a name I hadn't come across before, but turns out he composed all of the music of the Gerry Anderson 'Supermarionation' TV series.

The Charles Hazlewood All-Star Collective was to be performing a selection of classic scores from Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlett, UFO, Fireball XL5, Stingray, etc. together with guest vocalist Jarvis Cocker. What's more, the venue was Bristol St. George's, which is a beautiful space with some of the most amazing acoustics you'll ever come across.

Okay, so this is sounding like an event not to be missed!

But wait, there's more...

Charles went on to say that on stage would be Barry Gray's own Ondes Martenot - a legendary first-generation electronic instument from 1928 - one we'd featured years ago in our 'Top 20 Weirdest Instruments' video series, but had never actually had the chance to see or hear in person.
Not only that, Adrian Utley from Bristol band Portishead, would be playing his Swarmatron - another rare and unusual electronic creation.

So we made a few calls, grabbed the camera, asked fellow Bristol-based musician & producer Gaz Williams to come along and ask some questions, and went to see what turned out to be a fantastic performance!

In a brief break in the rehearsals before the show, we chatted to Francois Evans, owner and player of Barry Gray's Ondes Martenot; Adrian Utley, talking about his new love the Swarmatron; Charles Hazlewood on the magic of Barry Gray's music, and Jarvis Cocker, who revealed his first ever childhod crush was Aqua Marina (I'm sure he's not alone there!).

Big thanks to all the staff at St. George's - and I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

BBC 6 Music Festival
The Fringe


Andy McCreeth



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