Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

18 November 2015

When the programme was originally chosen, no-one could have anticipated the poignancy our Northampton Symphony Orchestra French-themed concert was going to have last Saturday – less than 24 hours after the Paris attacks. Our new regular conductor, John Gibbons, introduced the concert by asking for a minute's silence to reflect on the devastating events in France. Emerging from the silence, the pianissimo side drum rhythm at the start of Ravel's 'Bolero' can never have sounded so eerie and Andrea Patis's opening flute solo was particularly moving. The concert showcased some magnificent flute playing, with former NSO member Jenny Dyson appearing as the soloist in the 'Flute Concerto' by Jacques Ibert. Jenny gave a stunning performance of this fiendishly difficult piece in which she always appeared totally in command. Sadly the orchestra's leader, Stephen Hague, was unable to play in the concert as the result of an accident but this meant that the duet between the solo flute and violin in the slow movement of the concerto featured our former leader, Trevor Dyson, beautifully accompanying his own daughter. Ravel was the main focus of the concert with 'La Valse' closing the first half, followed after the interval by Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition'. 'La Valse' is an amazing piece which uses the Viennese waltz as the basis for a complex, playful and dizzying whirl towards an abrupt conclusion. 'Pictures at an Exhibition' included excellent solos by players throughout the orchestra, led by Nick Bunker's opening trumpet 'Promenade'. The finale, 'The Great Gate of Kiev', was a brilliant, powerful ending to an emotional concert.

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