Upbeat: Wrong connection

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The Independent Culture
IRATE investors aren't the only ones put out by the continued delay in completing the Channel Tunnel. Lille, where the new train is to stop on its way to Paris, was geared up to celebrate an autumn opening in style, with another Anglo-French collaboration. The first concert of the Lille Festival in September, with civic dignitaries in tow, features a new work by British composer Michael Nyman to mark the inauguration of the tunnel-oriented TGV rail link with Paris - now just an hour away.

The new composition, MGV or Musique Grande Vitesse, will be premiered by the Orchestre National de Lille and the Michael Nyman Band under the baton of Jean-Claude Casadesus. But the icing is off the cake. 'We're very disappointed,' says festival communications director Olivier Celarie. 'Naturally we thought this would coincide with the opening of the tunnel.'

At least he didn't have the problem of commissioning something appropriate for this side of the tunnel. The Lille concert also features the premiere of Nyman's Piano Concerto, based on music composed for the film The Piano, with Kathryn Stott as soloist. She records the work, at short notice, in a few weeks' time, with the Argo division of Decca attempting to cash in on the success of The Piano. No shortage of grande vitesse there.