Thursday, November 12, 2009

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

12 November 2009

When I hear any orchestral music on the radio, while I may not be able to identify the piece or the composer, I can almost always tell instantly whether or not I have played it. And, even listening to it on the radio, I still get that nervous pain in my stomach when hearing the few bars that immediately precede a horn solo or an exposed entry that I once agonised over playing. I suspect the closing moments of the first movement of Rachmaninov’s third symphony will now forever conjure up that mixture of excitement and terror after my experience of playing the horn solo at the start of the second movement with the Northampton Symphony Orchestra last Saturday. In a rare excursion into the NSO first horn hot-seat, I faced the daunting prospect of creating the only sound at the quiet opening of the slow movement. To be fair it’s more of a duet with the harp than a solo and I was very grateful for the reassuring presence of our excellent harpist Daniel de Fry. And, between you and me, it’s not a particularly difficult series of notes to play. But the pressure of such an exposed and fleeting moment to get it right or wrong, after many weeks of rehearsal, does make you incredibly nervous. As far as I can remember it went okay, and I did enjoy the experience, but I suspect that the joyous opening of the final movement of the symphony will now always be synonymous for me with a feeling of relief and relaxation. Rachmaninov’s ‘Symphony No 3’ is a subtle, complex and beautiful piece of music – not one that I was previously familiar with and I have enjoyed getting to know it. I think we gave a pretty good performance in a programme which also included ‘Francesca da Rimini’ by Tchaikovsky and Lucy Parham playing Mozart’s ‘Piano Concerto No 24’. There’s nothing better to relieve stress and nerves than to listen to Lucy playing Mozart.

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At 3:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Robin. You captured the feeling perfectly. One of the most terrifying sounds I can think of is the string chords at the beginning of the Tchaik 5 slow movement!

It's also interesting that you say 'as far as I can remember.' I often come to the end of a high stress solo and wonder if my perception of how it went was anything like that of the audience! Your mind really plays tricks in these circumstances. Anyway, I can assure you, from the three independant and unsolicited reports I had, it was more than okay. They all said it was beautiful, so well done.

Hope to be there with you some time, but realistically it's not going to be soon.

Cheers, Dave L.

At 5:47 pm, Blogger Robin Simpson said...

Many thanks Dave - look forward to having you back.

All the best



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