Thursday, January 23, 2020

NMPAT Sinfonietta concert

23 January 2020

I last played in one of Trevor Dyson’s charity orchestral concerts in Northampton two years ago when we performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No 3 (Eroica)’ (reviewed here in February 2017). On Saturday I was delighted to be asked again to join the NMPAT Sinfonietta – a scratch orchestra made up mostly of instrumental music teachers from Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust and conducted by Trevor – to raise funds for the Spinal Injuries Association. Like last time, the afternoon rehearsal was fairly worrying as we struggled to pull together a substantial and challenging programme in a very limited time. But this resulted in extreme levels of concentration in the evening performance which went really well and was great fun. We opened with the ‘Roman Carnival Overture’ by Berlioz – a thrilling piece that is rarely played as fast as should be in my opinion, but we managed to maintain an impressive pace! We followed this with ‘Peter and the Wolf’ by Prokofiev, narrated by Alan Bell, which featured stunning performances by the four woodwind soloists: Graham Tear on flute, Peter Dunkley on clarinet, Frank Jordan on bassoon and Iona Walker on oboe (who also played the lovely cor anglais solo in the Roman Carnival overture beautifully). The concert closed with the epic ‘Symphony No 6 (Pathétique)’ by Tchaikovsky. This was an ambitious undertaking on a single rehearsal but I think our performance was pretty impressive (if a little unrestrained in the faster, louder sections!). Usually when you play the Pathétique Symphony the triumphant march of the third movement fools anyone who hasn’t heard the piece before into thinking it has finished, and it’s not uncommon to get applause at this false ending, before the sting-in-the-tail of the angst-laden final slow movement. On Saturday our breathtaking romp through the third movement was greeted by a stunned silence punctuated simply by someone on the front row of the audience spontaneously and gloriously shouting ‘wow!’. Thankfully, the devastating ending of the final movement also elicited an enthusiastic reaction: it was an exciting and entertaining concert which managed to raise a substantial amount of money for the SIA.

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