6 MAY 1972, Page 20

Will Waspe's Whispers

I have a disturbing report to hand that the Western Orchestral Society (President: Sir Arthur Bliss, Master of the Queen's Musick) is bringing over the Finnish Radic Symphony Orchestra's Paavo Berglund to take over as principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, a post left teasingly vacant since the death of Constantin Silvestri a couple of years ago.

My attitude is not, I hope, merely chauvinistic — although, as a matter of fact, there is no acute shortage of accomplished native conductors, and it would have been agreeable to see one of them (Kenneth Montgomery, for example, who sometimes conducts the Bournemouth Symphony, but is more often confined to the smaller Sinfonietta) given this important job with what is certainly one of the most highly regarded of our provincial bands. My concern is for the orchestra itself and its future, for it offers frequent lamentations over the inadequacy of the subsidy it receives from the Arts Council of Great Britain. I cannot think that this body will be influenced to increased generosity by the employment of an alien as head man— no matter how good he may be on Sibelius.

Public privacy

On the subject of the Arts Council (from which the Lord Goodman has departed, no doubt en route for the chairmanship of the BBC), I suspect the new chairman, Patrick Gibson, will be looking quite sharply into the desirability of holding 'private views' of the exhibitions at the Council's Serpentine Gallery, which occupies the former restaurant in Hyde Park. They have always lacked the implied element of privacy — seeming to be attended by everyone who was ever at or even near an art school — and last week's shindig, with the wine provided from public funds flowing unbelievably freely, got rather spectacularly out of hand.

The admirable and usually equable Miss Sue Grayson, who runs the place for the Arts Council, has never sought to achieve the elitist elegance that characterises such affairs at, say, the Wildenstein or the Marlborough; but she looked understandably exasperated as she surveyed the late-evening scene of scruffy drunks and broken glasses, and was heard to remark testily that every free-loader in town was in attendance. I shall be surprised if she is prepared to play hostess at any such gatherings in the future.

On everyone's lips

The Waspe Award for the most optimistic hope of the week goes to John Barber, the Daily Telegraph's theatre critic, who concluded his review of the Greeks in the World Theatre Season thus: " ... and the Electra of Helen Hadjiarghyri has an intensity that will, I hope, make her name a household word."