Thursday, June 24, 2010

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

24 June 2010

Mendelssohn’s music for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a delightful, tuneful, popular work but, for any French horn player, it conjures up fear as all that pretty, innocent music seems to be leading menacingly, and all too quickly, towards the terror that is ‘The Nocturne’! To be fair, the horn solo in the Nocturne is also a very pretty tune, but it’s a mountain to climb for a horn player: not technically that difficult but very long, requiring considerable lung capacity (like climbing a mountain actually!). I was relieved to discover that ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was to be the first item on the programme at last Saturday’s Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert, giving me a chance to conquer its peaks while still reasonably fresh. And I must have practised playing through the Nocturne at least 100 times over the past 7 weeks, so I was well prepared. In the end, I got through it without any major problems. I’m sure some notes were a little strained as I began to run out of breath, but I think it went as well as it could have done and it was a great relief to get through it unscathed. Overall, I thought our performance of the Mendelssohn was pretty good. Indeed, the orchestra was in fine form on Saturday in what I think was our best concert since Alexander Walker took over as our conductor. The fabulous violinist Irmina Trynkos returned to give a dazzling performance of Chausson’s ‘Poeme’ and the ‘Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso’ by Saint Saens. And the concert concluded with an impressive and exciting performance of the ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ by Berlioz – including a truly beautiful cor anglais and offstage oboe duet at the beginning of the third movement by Peta Foley and Kathy Roberts. It was a long concert – tiring but exhilarating.

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