1 August: A Symphony for Yorkshire

Composer Benjamin Till has written a Symphony for Yorkshire, commissioned by the BBC. Musicians from across the county have auditioned and been assembled for its premier on 1 August.

For more information on one of the successful auditionees –  Charles Hindmarsh – please see below:

On the Cutting Edge of Music

Charles Hindmarsh has a point to prove. In fact he has a whole series of them. They’re on the edge of the saw that he plays. Yes, Charles is a musical saw player – someone who plays the saw with a bow – and he’s much in demand in and around Yorkshire to play at concerts, weddings, workshops, parties and demonstrations. He’s appeared on TV and radio too, and you can see a fine example of his art on YouTube – www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvPgZtTQAx4 – playing the old standard, Danny Boy.

The Yorkshire Musical Saw Player, to give Charles his full title, started playing the saw around 30 years ago, initially using a standard wood saw from his father’s tool kit (I don’t know whether it was a cross-cut saw or a rip saw, but I can picture a scene of his dad hunting everywhere for his saw when in the middle of a job and saying to himself, “where is it, I ‘ad it ‘ere yesterday, and now it’s blooming disappeared” and wondering where that strange, ethereal and other-worldly noise was coming from that was wafting through the house, “Eh, I can’t ‘ear mysen think” he may have said as he scratched his head in bewilderment).

But he wasn’t in competition for his Dad’s tools for long, as Charles took a tip from a saw-playing busker and bought himself a Mussehl & Westphal saw from Wisconsin, USA – a company which specialises in making musical saws from the “best imported English steel” – and he never looked back.

He’s played with a number of august bodies including the Harrogate Band (www.hello-yorkshire.co.uk/blog/harrogate-band-the-premier-brass-band-in-the-locality) and, like the Band, has roots going back to his days at Harrogate Granby High School. After he left School, he went to Chester College to study music, and so has a serious musical background. Charles’ website is utterly absorbing. It not only tells you more about Charles, but also lists his repertoire, has a page detailing the physics of the musical saw, another with instructions on how to play the saw, a jokes page, a page with some beautiful photos of Yorkshire, and much more besides. Do check it out – http://playthesaw.co.uk.

And you can hear  the premier of the Symphony for Yorkshire on BBC Look North and Radio York, Sheffield, Leeds and Humberside on Yorkshire Day – 1 August 2010. If you’re after Yorkshire accommodation in the area, try York hotels, Scarborough hotels or bed and breakfast Whitby on Hello Yorkshire.

NB: Mysen is Yorkshire dialect for myself.

One thought on “1 August: A Symphony for Yorkshire

  1. You picked a great topic for this post and you wrote about it well. I have seen a few other web sites with comparable content but no one has completed a better job than you on writing about it.

Comments are closed.