Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

22 April 2015

When the soloist who was due to perform the 'Oboe Concerto' by Richard Strauss at our Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert last Saturday pulled out, some weeks ago, the orchestra's Principal Oboe, Kathy Roberts, stepped into the breach. Kathy's performance on Saturday was stunning, mastering the technical challenges of the concerto, the emotion of the music and the nerves of the situation. I can't believe anyone else would have played it better. It was also very impressive to see our second oboe player, Jayne Henderson, taking Kathy's role in the orchestra for the whole programme – including many exposed solo passages. We started the concert with Dvorak's tone poem 'The Noonday Witch' but our main focus was the mighty 'Symphony No.1' by Rachmaninoff. I didn't know this symphony, which feels quite different from its better known successor, but really enjoyed getting to grips with it. The piece has a thematic coherence across its four substantial movements and climaxes in a very exciting finale – the opening of which, featuring our trumpet and percussion sections, was truly thrilling. Our latest guest conductor, Scott Wilson, combining meticulous attention to detail with passionate enthusiasm, drew a great performance from the orchestra.

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