Daily Archives: December 4, 2005 6:48 pm

Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003)


This is Dec. 4th in my dance inspirations advent calendar. Opened already: December 1st 2nd 3rd Malcolm Williamson in France in 1982
My first experience of Malcolm Williamson’s music was as a bassist in the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra. We played the Suite from Our Man in Havana which to me was the most exciting piece I’d played in. It was sexy, brash, ballsy, clever, dancy, and with a kind of emotional soar in it that left you tingling on the edge of your seat. There was this thrilling modulation in the middle-eight of one of the numbers which was so weird, remote & sudden, you wondered how on earth he was going to get out of it again and back to the tune. The journey back to the home key was a bit like a turbulent flight – sudden plunges which were terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I loved this music so much, I wanted to eat it until it made me sick, and then go back for more.

So when, about 6 years later, I was working for the publishers Josef Weinberger, and they said Malcolm Williamson was coming in for a meeting, I did the sensible thing, rushed out of the building and hid in the café across the road until he’d gone. I was so in awe of the man, I thought I might just self-combust if I was introduced to him, or just stand their tongue-tied and gaga.

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