Monday, November 12, 2018

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

12 November 2018

On Saturday we launched the 125th anniversary season of the Northampton Symphony Orchestra with a piece written in 1893 – the year the orchestra was founded: ‘Entry March of the Boyars’ by the Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen. This was followed by the ever-popular ‘Cello Concerto’ by Antonin Dvorak, written soon afterwards and premiered in 1896. Our soloist was the wonderful young Ukrainian ‘cellist Yaroslava Trofymchuk who gave a stunning performance of this incredibly romantic piece. Dvorak wrote the concerto during his stay in America and you can hear the similarities with his ‘New World Symphony’, which we are due to perform in February 2019. We finished Saturday’s concert with Aaron Copland’s ‘Third Symphony’, written to celebrate the end of the Second World War. It’s an optimistic piece which paints a picture of a forward-looking America. The final movement uses Copland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’, written in 1942 to mark America’s entry into the war but reworked here as a poignant reflection. The symphony is full of Copland’s distinctive sparse orchestral sound, with recognisable echoes of ‘Rodeo’ and ‘Appalachian Spring’. It is a considerable test of stamina, particularly for the brass section in the mammoth final movement. I really enjoyed getting to know the symphony and I think our performance was pretty impressive, with brass and percussion excelling in the famous fanfare and some great delicacy from the strings, woodwind, keyboards and harps in the quieter sections.

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