Friday, April 11, 2014

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

11 April 2014

Accompanying a soloist in a concerto is always a difficult discipline for an orchestra. Maintaining balance often requires considerable restraint from the orchestra and the need to follow the soloist's fluctuations of speed can be a significant challenge for the conductor. In the Northampton Symphony Orchestra's concert last Saturday we had the privilege of accompanying the amazing violinist Clare Howick in a performance of Elgar's 'Violin Concerto'. Less well-known but very similar to the Elgar Cello Concerto, this romantic and dramatic work twists and turns the tempo in almost every bar. Clare Howick gave a stunning performance, and it was very exciting to accompany her, but the concentration required throughout the concerto (which lasts nearly 50 minutes) was exhausting. In the second half of the concert we performed Brahms' 'Symphony No. 1', a very 'classical' symphony that feels like supercharged Beethoven. There is a deceptive simplicity to the piece which reveals more and more as you get to know it and builds to a very exciting finale. I think we gave a very strong performance and it was an extremely enjoyable concert.

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