Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

18 June 2013

Performing a horn concerto, not as the soloist but as one of the horn players in the orchestra, can be an intimidating experience as you tend to worry your performance is going to be unfavourably compared to that of the soloist. The Second Horn Concerto by Richard Strauss is the Matterhorn of the genre and while the two orchestral horn parts constitute mere foothills compared to the peaks the soloist has to scale, they contain some tricky echoes of the solo part and make you work hard to ensure you don’t let the soloist down. I think our performance of the concerto with the Northampton Symphony Orchestra on Saturday went extremely well, with Richard Bayliss stepping in at the last minute to give a wonderfully exciting performance, as our original soloist sadly had to pull out of the concert for personal reasons. And those orchestral horn parts sounded pretty good to me too! The second half of the concert contrasted the concerto, written when Strauss was 78, with the precocious First Symphony by Shostakovich – a graduation piece written at the age of 19. Much closer to Shostakovich’s playful music theatre writing than the later, more serious, symphonies, it was a really enjoyable work to get to know. Our performance featured some impressive solos from Nick Bunker (trumpet), Mara Griffiths (flute), Kathy Roberts (oboe), Christine Hunt and Robert Reid (clarinet), Sian Bunker (bassoon) and William Thallon (piano).

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