Friday, March 08, 2013

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

8 March 2013

The Northampton Symphony Orchestra was back in the magnificent auditorium of the Derngate in Northampton last Saturday for an evening of ballet music, compered by Angela Rippon. We played an extensive range of ballet excerpts including popular favourites (Tchaikovsky’s suite from ‘Swan Lake’, the ‘Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia’ from ‘Spartacus’ by Khachaturian and the ‘Clog Dance’ from ‘La fille mal gardée’ by Ferdinand Hérold) and the achingly beautiful ending of Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. We finished the concert with the suite from ‘The Firebird’ by Stravinsky – a challenge for any orchestra but one which I think we rose to. Towards the end of the suite there is a moment, after the violence of the famous ‘Infernal Dance’ has subsided and the haunting bassoon melody of the ‘Berceuse’ has died away, when sparse string chords fade away to silence. Then, out of nothing, comes the horn solo that ushers in the finale. It’s a beautiful moment but I can now tell you from personal experience that it is incredibly nerve-wracking being the horn player waiting for what seems like an age to play that solo. It’s not a particularly difficult phrase (there were much more difficult solos earlier in the concert including those performed wonderfully by Kathy Roberts on oboe, Nick Bunker on trumpet and an amazingly beautiful harp cadenza) but, coming at the end of the most difficult piece at the end of a long concert was a bit like stepping up to take a penalty after playing extra time. I am relieved to say I didn’t blast the ball over the bar – it seemed to go okay and the concert ended on a high. 

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