Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

28 June 2011

It’s been more than two years since the Northampton Symphony Orchestra last played at the Derngate in Northampton (March 2009). It’s a wonderful hall for orchestral music but extremely expensive to hire and a major financial risk for the orchestra as we need to sell considerably more tickets than for our other concerts just to break even. Our programme for last week’s concert was designed to attract the biggest possible audience and included two of the eight most popular requests from BBC Radio 4’s ‘Your Desert Island Discs’. Holst’s ‘The Planets’ is one of the best known pieces of classical music but the vast resources it requires mean that it is not that often performed. I’ve played it three times now and it’s a much more sophisticated work than is often assumed. I think our performance in the Derngate was of a very high standard with some truly thrilling moments. Sitting in the middle of the horn section as we played the undulating arpeggios in ‘Jupiter’ it was hard to understand why every composer since Holst hasn’t written for six horns! In the first half of the concert we played Elgar’s ‘Cello Concerto’ with NSO principal ‘cellist Corinne Malitskie as the soloist. It’s a passionate, emotional work and Corinne gave a wonderful performance which brought the house down. It was a great concert and we attracted a fairly large audience: I hope we’ll be back in the Derngate soon.

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