Region 01 recently hosted an evening event for ALs entitled “A Mahler Evening”. Robert Manning, the event’s coordinator, sends the following report:
The OU’s London Region organises regular Monday evening seminars for its Arts ALs to attend; these are presented sometimes by London Region ALs and sometimes by visiting speakers. On 21 November 2011, the eve of St Cecilia’s Day and the 316th anniversary of the death of Purcell, Mahlerians Dr Robert Samuels, Head of Music at the Open University, and Dr Mark Nixon, AL in West Midlands Region, led an evening on Mahler, who died 100 years ago. Nearly 20 people attended, including several who either are or have been associated with OU music teaching – Drs Ursula Brett, Brian Collins, Helen Green and Malcolm Miller, while the meeting was initiated by Dr Robert Manning, who chaired the evening; the detailed organisation was done by Dr Naoko Yamagata and other London Region colleagues. The two speakers had previously led a similar but longer event for Robert Manning’s Music Appreciation group in Wimbledon last April. They work well as a team; and their presentations on different aspects of Mahler and his music on 21 November complemented each other skilfully. What was especially impressive was the way in which they spoke so illuminatingly for nearly an hour and a half without recourse to musical jargon. Several excellent questions were posed by members of the audience after the presentation; insufficient time was available to respond to all the matters raised. There is a huge quantity of expertise within the wider OU Music community; it was good to see both a full-time and a part-time member of staff demonstrate and share their specialist knowledge in this way to such a stimulating audience made up largely of non-musicians. Would that there were many more opportunities for such enterprises such as this one!