Friday, March 20, 2020

Milton Keynes Sinfonia concert

20 March 2020

Last Friday afternoon I received a text message to say that one of the horn players in Milton Keynes Sinfonia was self-isolating after displaying symptoms of Covid-19 and asking if I could help them out. Just over 24 hours later I had the unexpected pleasure of playing in the orchestra’s Beethoven concert at the Chrysalis Theatre in Milton Keynes. It was a wonderful concert: there was a strange atmosphere of nervousness about the rapidly worsening Coronavirus situation, a strong expectation that this might be one of the last live concerts any of us experiences for quite a while, but also a determination to celebrate being together to enjoy some inspirational music. We opened the concert with the ‘Overture to Fidelio’ – Beethoven’s only opera, followed by his ‘Piano Concerto No 5’ – the ‘Emperor Concerto’, brilliantly played bt the Russian pianist, Alexander Karpeyev. The climax of the concert was Beethoven’s ‘Symphony No 5’ – the world’s most famous symphony. The journey from the ominous knocking of fate in the first movement to the gloriously triumphant finale felt particularly moving in the current climate. Conductor David Knight spoke about his vision of the symphony as a ‘mushroom cloud’, gradually expanding towards the exuberant ending, with the third movement Scherzo forming the heart of the work, in which the tension builds and builds before leading into the release of the major key climax in the fourth movement. It was an incredibly enjoyable evening – a bright moment of hope in dark times.

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