Thursday, March 08, 2012

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

8 March 2012

Rimsky Korsakov’s ‘Scheherezade’ is a lovely piece of music with some wonderful melodies but seems to me (particularly in the second movement) not to represent 1001 tales told by a single storyteller but a succession of storytellers presenting their own versions of the same story. This procession of soloists within the orchestra stepping into the limelight and taking their turn to outdo each other provides a great opportunity to show off the talented players in every section of the orchestra. And, in the Northampton Symphony Orchestra’s performance last Saturday, each of our home-grown soloists excelled. To be completely honest, and without any false modesty, the horn solos are much easier than most of the woodwind solos that precede them, but nonetheless I was glad that I managed to perform them fairly cleanly. Amid all this self-congratulation most praise must go to our leader, Trevor Dyson, who gave an excellent account of the violin cadenzas that hold the work together. These virtuoso challenges must be a terrifying prospect but Trevor gave a great performance. In the first half of the concert we tackled the ‘Four Sea Interludes’ from Benjamin Britten’s ‘Peter Grimes’. I hadn’t played these before and it took me a few weeks to get to grips with the music but I found it very rewarding. Each movement has a completely different style and feel. We also tackled the second Piano Concerto by Shostakovich with the pianist and composer Huw Watkins. This is a playful and relatively short concerto which is enjoyable but somewhat slight – until you get to the slow movement which is achingly beautiful and worth the price of admission on its own. It was a lovely programme and a great concert.

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